Tesco could face a large fine after a dawn raid by the UK Border Agency found it had been employing foreign students illegally, according to The Independent newspaper.
It’s been reported that immigration officials arrested 20 people at the supermarket’s dotcom warehouse in Croydon, south London, for working substantially longer than they were allowed.
In full co-operation with Tesco, UKBA officers conducted the raid at 3am on 21 July at the store, which delivers online orders from Tesco.com. The investigation follows a renewed effort by the government to clamp down on “visa abuse”, which has seen more than 2,000 offenders removed since the beginning of May.
A Home Office spokesman told The Independent the individuals arrested at Tesco’s warehouse “now face removal from the UK” over alleged breaches of visa rules that restrict the hours students can work. It is thought that at least seven of the students have been deported since the raid.
While the university students, who are thought to be primarily Indian and Bangladeshi nationals aged over 18, all had the right to work in the UK, they had had been working for between 50 and 70 hours during school term. Foreign students are only allowed to work 20 hours a week.
A Tesco spokesperson told the newspaper: “We take our responsibilities as an employer very seriously and do not condone illegal working of any kind. We have a comprehensive system for ensuring all the correct procedures are followed in this area which has been externally audited and generally works well. We have now taken additional steps to ensure an incident of this nature does not happen again.”
Source: The Independent