Immigration raids in London and Lancashire

The introduction of the Immigration Act 2016 has seen a wave of immigration raids across the country, with restaurants in particular targeted for 'illegal' workers. On 4 July in London, at a dozen branches of the luxury burger chain Byron, workers were summoned by management to bogus early morning training meetings. UK border agents then burst into the rooms, shouting 'Nobody move, this is immigration!' UKBA later confirmed that 35 nationals from Brazil, Nepal, Egypt and Albania had been arrested and faced deportation. One worker, who has now been deported, told the Guardian: 'I feel so bad... I worked hard, I paid taxes and Byron did this to us. It is immoral. They were happy to employ me for years doing really hard work that no British person would do.' Protests against this despicable collaboration between Byron management and UKBA have been taking place, with one in London on Monday 1 August closing down two branches. Another will be taking place in Edinburgh on Friday 5 August, called by the Migrants Solidarity Network, from 17:30 at Byron Burgers on North Bridge.  

On 9 July, Mognies, a popular Indian takeaway in Lancaster was raided by immigration police. Three members of staff were arrested and taken into the van. This follows raids across Lancashire in the first few months of this year. In February, three Bangladesh men were arrested at Indian restaurants in Clevelys and Fleetwood. Both restaurants were threatened with fines of up to £20,000 per worker. Karen McDonough, of Lancashire Immigration Enforcement, stated: ‘The message to businesses in Blackpool using illegal labour is clear… Our dedicated specialist teams will catch you’. The same month a Chinese man was detained after a raid on a takeaway in Chorley. There were three raids in Preston in April, and four arrests. All three businesses were again threatened with heavy fines. In June, six migrants were detained at an Indian restaurant in Lancaster and the owners face a raft of charges for employing 'illegal' workers.

Fight the racist Immigration Act! No raids! No deportations!

Lee Whear


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