Two illegal workers have been jailed for documentation offences and two deported after the UK Border Agency (UKBA) arrested five immigration offenders in a raid at a Somerset egg production facility.
The fifth worker remains in immigration detention pending his removal from the UK.
The workers were all Indian nationals.
Egg production company Landshire Country Foods now faces a fine of up to £50,000 – £10,000 for each illegal worker – unless it can provide the UKBA with evidence that adequate right-to-work checks were carried out before employing the men.
A spokesman for Landshire Country Foods told FoodManufacture.co.uk: “We are working with the Border Agency to resolve the situation. The right checks were carried out.”
The UKBA said: “We are considering whether the firm should face a penalty.”
Counterfeit identity documents
Two of the men, aged 39 and 45, are now serving six-month prison sentences for having forged or counterfeit identity documents in their possession.
They were convicted of offences under the ID Cards Act at Dorchester Crown Court on November 16.
The UKBA said it will work to remove them from the country once their sentences are served.
The Agency told FoodManufacture.co.uk: “Checks revealed that all five were in the UK illegally. A 20-year-old was working in breach of the conditions of his student visa, a 24-year-old and 48-year-old had over-stayed their visas, and a 39-year-old and 45-year-old were found to have entered the UK illegally.
The five men arrested were found sleeping at the facility when officers arrived at 6am, acting on intelligence received.
‘No hiding place’
Kenny Chapman, of the UKBA, said: “We are carrying out frequent operations across the South West to track down and remove people who are here illegally. Offenders should know that there is no hiding place and that where we find people who are in the UK illegally we will seek to remove them.
“We are also looking to target employers who take on illegal workers and who encourage illegal immigration in the process. We also work closely with the police to prosecute anyone we arrest who is believed to have committed a criminal offence.”
It emphasised the fact that it provides support to educate employers about the rules surrounding employing foreign nationals, including visits by staff, a telephone helpline and website.