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Crewkerne business owner says £10k fine over workers is an 'injustice'

By Western Gazette - Crewkerne  |  Posted: September 20, 2012

Bengal Fusion

Shah Alom, owner of Bengal Fusion, left, and his son Mahbub. The restaurant owner has blasted a £10,000 fine from the UK Border Agency

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The owner of a Crewkerne business raided by the UK Border Agency in January has slammed a £10,000 fine he faces as an “injustice.”

Shah Alom has been ordered to pay £10,000 after two allegedly illegal workers were found at Bengal Fusion on Market Square.

Border Agency officers raided the premises on January 5 and arrested two members of staff who were from Bangladesh.

According to the agency, immigration checks revealed that the men, aged 47 and 48, had stayed in the UK illegally after their visas expired.

The restaurant was issued with a potential fine notice for employing illegal workers and given an opportunity to prove that the correct right-to-work checks were made before the men were taken on.

But the agency said it failed to do so and now the businesses must pay the fine.

Its proprietor Mr Alom has always claimed the pair were musicians and had been booked to perform. He said they were not employed by Bengal Fusion and did not live on the premises.

He said: “I sent through to the Border Agency everything possible to prove the men were not employed by us.

“Normally if anyone comes to work here we check them but the men were coming in for a performance.

“You can find videos on YouTube of these men performing all over the country and I recorded performances off the television and sent it as proof.

“It is totally unfair, I think it’s an injustice.”

He said he was considering taking his case to local MP David Laws.

“I am not sure what else to do, we are running a small business and can’t afford this kind of penalty,” Mr Alom added.

Kenny Chapman, who heads the UK Border Agency’s local immigration team in the South West, said: “Employers are responsible for carrying out document checks and we work with businesses to let them know what they need to do.

“Illegal working has damaging social and economic consequences for the UK.

“It undercuts businesses that operate within the law, undermines British workers and exploits migrant workers.

“The message is clear for employers – we will not tolerate illegal working and we will take firm action against those who ignore the rules.”

The Border Agency said a 48-year-old man arrested at Bengal Fusion in January was removed from the UK in June.

A 47-year-old arrested at the same time has an outstanding immigration claim under consideration.

If he is found to have no right to remain in the country he will also face removal from the country, the agency said.

The UK Border Agency is a law enforcement agency responsible for controlling migration in the UK.

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