Twenty restaurant directors, including businessmen of Indian origin, have received bans from Britain’s Insolvency Service after they were found to be employing people who did not have the right to work in the country. The accused directors had also paid a fine earlier.
The directors, who ran 16 separate businesses across the United Kingdom, were found to have employed 41 workers in an illegal manner. They were fined a total of £505,000 by the Home Office, none of which was paid, according to a statement by the Insolvency Service.
The businesses, which include 11 restaurants, four takeaway/fast food establishments, and a shop, are based in London, Sussex, North West, South Wales, Glasgow, Antrim, Frome and High Wycombe. These restaurants include Jhalmuri, Indian Fusion, Cardamom Bay, K2 Taj, Café India, The 3 Mughals, and Jaipur Restaurant.
The rules introduced by the Conservative Party government in the United Kingdom have imposed a high salary threshold for employment of chefs from India and other non-EU countries. This has driven some restaurant owners and directors to employ illegal workers as Britain’s restaurant industry is facing a severe crunch for chefs.
“These directors sought an unfair advantage over their law abiding competitors by employing people who were not entitled to work legally in the UK,” Cheryl Lambert, the chief investigator at the Insolvency Service, said, adding that by definition, these were a set of people who are without the protection of the law and knowledge of the authorities. “Thereby, they are extremely vulnerable to exploitation in all its forms. It is bad for business and bad for society as a whole.”
A Home Office spokesperson said in a statement that businesses should be aware of their duty to check if at all their staff have a permission to work in the United Kingdom. “Illegal working is not victimless. It undercuts honest employers, cheats legitimate job seekers out of employment opportunities and defrauds the taxpayer,” the statement added.
According to the disqualification order, a person with a disqualification cannot act as a director of a company, neither can he or she take part directly or indirectly, in the promotion, formation or management of a company or limited liability partnership, nor can he or she be a receiver of a company’s property without specific permission of a court.