Illegal Workers

The UK Border Agency find that it is particularly difficult to get messages to the construction and related industries on illegal working and have asked the Guild of Builders and Contractors to help by providing information and promoting the message. They have provided information on a recent successful visit to a company operating to the west of London.

A Southall builders' merchant is facing a big fine after the latest in a series of UK Border Agency raids targeting illegal workers.

Acting on intelligence, officers visited Western Timber and Builders Merchant on Western Road, Southall on the morning of Thursday 4 August, where they questioned staff to see if they had the right to work in the UK.

Three employees, all Indian nationals, were arrested for working illegally. A 27-year-old man was arrested for entering the country illegally, while two men aged 34 and 25 were found to be failed asylum seekers.

A fourth man, believed to be a customer, was also arrested for immigration offences.

Three of the four remain in detention awaiting their removal from the UK. The 27-year-old man was later granted immigration bail and must report regularly to the UK Border Agency while his case is dealt with.

Western Timber and Builders Merchant now have to prove that they did the correct right-to-work checks on their staff, or they could face fines of up to £10,000 per illegal worker.

Salma Raja, head of the UK Border Agency's Ealing Local Immigration Team, said:

 "Those who employ illegal workers are not only breaking the law, they're also taking jobs from those who do have the right to work and are undercutting Southall's legitimate businesses and traders.

We're happy to work with firms to help them understand what checks they need to do, but those who do break the law should know that we are out there looking for them, and they will be caught."

Every year, the UK Border Agency imposes civil penalties on thousands of companies which fail to carry out proper right-to-work checks on staff.

Legitimate companies and in particular builders and contractors are suffering from competitors offering "cash in hand" prices free of VAT. Many of those are also illegal immigrants or employ illegal workers on a "cash in hand" basis. One member operating in North London has reported that he is unsuccessful in 80% of his quotations. Both private and business property owners are giving the work to small bands of illegal workers.

Members unsure of the steps they need to take to avoid employing illegal workers can visit or they can call the UK Border Agency's Employers Helpline on 0300 123 4699.

For more information and contact details for the Local Immigration Teams visit

Anyone who suspects that illegal workers are being employed at a business or are undertaking work for private or business clients can contact Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 anonymously or visit

Have you lost work to "cash in hand" firms?

Please let us have your views by sending an email to or clicking on "comments" at the end of this item.


1 comment(s) for “Illegal Workers”

  1. Ahmed Says:

    Come now, take a deep breath. Opposing ilealgl immigration does not automatically equate with hatred of ilealgl immigrants. One can certainly take the position that our immigration laws should be strictly enforced, while recognizing that most (not all!) of these immigrants are personally decent people trying to help their families out.But they should not break our laws to do so. Simple as that. Unless you know the hearts and attitudes of all the anti-immigration (really anti-ILLEGAL immigration) folks, you owe them the courtesy of not assuming bad intentions.

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