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Byron Burger leaves a bad taste in the mouth after immigration raids

On 28 July it was revealed that dozens of workers at burger chain Byron were arrested in raids by immigration officials.

On 28 July it was revealed that dozens of workers at burger chain Byron were arrested in raids by immigration officials. 

Byron has been subject to quite severe criticism for assisting the Home Office with its illegal working raid: by setting up meetings for staff to attend when they were arrested.   However, the reality is that if the Home Office has asked an employer for its cooperation in circumstances where illegal working is suspected, it has limited options.  An employer which has been employing illegal workers faces the prospect of being issued with a civil penalty of up to £20,000 for each worker – even if the employer was unaware that the employee was illegal. Civil penalties can be reduced in many cases if the employer demonstrates ‘active cooperation’ with the Home Office (which includes giving access to its premises). So Byron was most probably trying to mitigate the risk of civil penalties against it. 

Under the new Immigration Act 2016 employers also face the risk of being shut down for up to 48 hours if the Home Office suspects illegal workers during an enforcement visit.  This applies to employers who have had a civil penalty previously – but it is an added and serious risk that may have caused Byron to cooperate.

Have you audited your Right to Work processes lately? Contact Elaine McIlroy for assistance.