Wania owner could face a £20,000 bill for ‘illegal’ worker

The Wania Restaurant
The Wania Restaurant

The owner of an Indian restaurant in Horncastle has been warned he could face a £20,000 fine amid allegations he employed an illegal worker.

The worker - a 25-year-old from Bangladesh - was found hiding an in a cupboard when staff from the UK Border Agency raided the Wania Restaurant in West Street in June.

There have been reports that the restaurant has already been fined £10,000 for the offence.

In a statement, the Home Office told the News that investigations were still continuing and the financial penalties could amount to £20,000.

A Home Office spokesman said: “Home Office Immigration Enforcement officers visited the Wania Indian Restaurant, Bridge Street, Horncastle, on 17 June 2014.

“One 25-year-old Bangladeshi man who had overstayed his visa was found working illegally at the business and was arrested.

“He is currently detained while steps are taken to remove him from the UK.

“At the time of the operation, Wania Indian Restaurant was served with a notice advising that they may be liable for a civil penalty of up to £20,000 per illegal worker arrested.

“Investigations are continuing.”

In addition to the Home Office probe, restaurant owner Sitab Ali is still waiting to see if he will retain a full licence for the restaurant as part of the illegal worker allegations.

The matter was discussed at a meeting of East Lindsey District Council’s licensing sub-committee last month.

Lincolnshire Police has asked the council to consider revoking the premises licence which covers the sale of alcohol.

However, members of the sub-committee delayed making a decision to allow an interpreter to be appointed to represent Mr Ali.

The Wania is one of the most popular restaurants in the Horncastle area and regularly earns praise on Trip Advisor.

Last month, a spokesman for the restaurant said they believed they had all the correct documentation in place regarding the worker.

He added: “We weren’t aware we had done anything wrong. It is very difficult to check. We are ashamed but it was an honest mistake.”

The spokesman went on to stress a comprehensive system of checks was now in place.