Indian restaurants fined in crackdown on illegal immigrants

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London, Jun 20 (UNI) Several Chinese and Indian restaurants have been fined a total of 45,000 pounds for hiring illegal immigrants.

The UK Borders Agency (UKBA) took the extraordinary step to publish the list of company names and employers in an attempt to crack down on people smuggling.

The restaurants were on a list of 35 firms in England published on the UKBA's website in total, alongside 37 directors.

They were fined a total of almost 303,000 pounds for employing 56 illegal workers.

Lee's Chinese Takeaway in Ashford had a 15,000 pounds fine for employing two illegal migrant workers.

Taj of Kent and Chinese restaurant Friendly 8 were each slapped with 10,000 pounds fine for employing two illegal migrants.

Mumtaz Mahul Tandoori Restaurant in Cranbrook and the Raj Pavilion in Tunbridge Wells were fined 5,000 pounds for employing one illegal worker each.

The news came as Home Secretary Jacqui Smith announced a radical overhaul in the way immigration issues are tackled.

The country's 7,500 UKBA officers and staff will be reorganised into 70 to 80 immigration teams. The teams form part of the government's new list of priorities, which include: Holding individuals, businesses, colleges and organisations who break UK laws to account, launching 5,000 operations to identify and penalise illegal organisations in 2008-09 , setting up a Border Intelligence Service by October this year, fingerprinting foreign nationals for ID cards, starting from November 2008.

Launching the new strategy, Mrs Smith said, ''The UK's immigration system is undergoing the biggest shake-up for a generation, and these changes will ensure our frontline officers can continue to implement these reforms, and meet the tough targets we have set the UK Border Agency.'' UNI XC SYU UCS1621

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