UKBA officers have arrested 23 illegal workers in Ardwick

ukba, ardwick, uk border agency, majid house 13 November 2009

UK Border Agency officers have arrested 23 illegal workers at a building in Ardwick following an operation as part of a nationwide crackdown on illegal working.

Acting on intelligence, officers entered Majid House shortly after 0900 on Wednesday 11 November. They checked the documents of those inside and questioned them about their immigration status.

A number of people in the building attempted to hide on the roof to evade capture, before being apprehended by agency officers. Two men were found hiding inside cardboard packing boxes, which then had further boxes piled on top of them.

Twenty-one men and two women, aged in their mid 20s and early 40s, from Pakistan and Afghanistan were arrested. All those arrested are now being interviewed by UK Border Agency officers and enquiries are continuing.

Jo Liddy, Regional Director of the UK Border Agency in the North West, said:

'Unscrupulous employers who flout the law will not be tolerated. Illegal working is unfair on honest employers and takes jobs away from those with a legal right to work. These employers will often bypass health and safety and minimum wage legislation, which can lead to dangerous working conditions for employees.

'Employers who don't play by the rules face on the spot fines and could potentially end up in jail. The UK Border Agency conducts illegal working operations week in week out targeting these rogue employers. Our message to employers is simple - make no mistake, you will be caught.'

Majid House, an old mill, houses around 20 separate businesses across 6 floors. Most of the businesses produce knitwear and textiles for the wholesale industry.

The Agency will now look at the evidence gathered as part of the operation and consider whether any of the businesses will be served with a Notice of Potential Liability in relation to the illegal workers. The employer would then have 28 days to provide the UK Border Agency with evidence that the correct right-to-work checks were carried out or face a fine of up to £10,000 per illegal worker found at their business.

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