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Indians held in UK for working illegally London

Twenty seven foreign nationals,including Indian citizens, have been arrested for working illegally following a major operation by immigration officials at a farm in north-west England.

world Updated: May 26, 2010 18:05 IST

Twenty seven foreign nationals,including Indian citizens, have been arrested for working illegally following a major operation by immigration officials at a farm in north-west England.

During an intelligence-led operation at a company called Drinkwater Mushrooms, the enforcement team, supported by Lancashire police, encountered men and women from India, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nepal at Hampson Farm, Galgate, near Lancaster.However, it was not clear how many Indians were arrested.

Arrests were made for offences such as illegal entry, working in breach of visa conditions and overstaying permission to be in the UK.

The employer will be given 28 days to provide the UK Border Agency with evidence that the correct right-to-work checks were carried out, or else he will have to face a fine of up to 10,000 pounds per illegal worker, or 270,000 pounds in total.

Steps are now being taken to remove illegal workers from the UK. Damian Green, Immigration Minister, said, "We will not tolerate illegal working, in Lancashire or anywhere else -it undercuts British wages and exploits vulnerable workers."

"As long as there are illegal jobs, the UK will be an attractive place for illegal immigrants.That's why we have to put a stop to employers who don't play by the rules," he added.

The arrests, he said, were part of a continuing clamp down on illegal working in Lancashire to reduce the attractiveness of the UK to illegal immigrants.

"There are strict rules about which foreign nationals can get a job in the UK and businesses have a clear responsibility to carry out the right checks", he said.