Press release

Bosham restaurant owner gets 6 year ban for hiring illegal workers

Restaurant owner Abdul Shahid has been disqualified from being a director for allowing Bosham Spice Ltd to employ 2 illegal immigrants.

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The company in question, Bosham Spice Ltd, traded as Memories of India in Bosham, West Sussex. Mr Abdul Shahid, 45, gave an undertaking to the Insolvency Service not to manage or control a limited company for 6 years until 2022, from 14 April 2016.

An investigation by the Insolvency Service found that Mr Shahid failed to ensure that the company complied with its statutory obligations under immigration law. Specifically relevant immigration checks were not completed and copy documents were not retained, this resulted in the employment of two illegal workers.

The illegal workers were discovered during a Home Office immigration officer visit on 06 September 2014. Following this discovery the company was issued with a £20,000 penalty notice, which remained outstanding at the date of liquidation.

Robert Clarke, Group Leader, Insolvent Investigations North, said:

The Insolvency Service rigorously pursues directors who break employment and immigration laws. Taking on staff illegally means those staff do not enjoy basic employment rights and is a clear breach of a director’s duties.

The public has a right to expect that those who break the law will face the consequences. Running a limited company means you have statutory obligations as well as protections, and this should serve as a warning to other directors tempted to take on illegal staff.

Notes to editors

Bosham Spice Limited (CRO No. 07159775) was incorporated on 17 February 2010 and traded from October 2012 as Memories of India, an Indian Restaurant at Old Bridge Road, Bosham, West Sussex, PO18 8PG.

Mr Shahid’s date of birth is 12 May 1971 and he resides in Hilsea, Portsmouth.

Mr Shahid was the sole director from 17 February 2010 until 14 May 2015. The Company ceased trading on 03 February 2015 and went into Liquidation on 14 May 2015 with an estimated deficiency of £44,506. This amount includes the civil penalty imposed upon the company by Home Office Immigration Enforcement.

On 24 March 2016, the Secretary of State accepted a Disqualification Undertaking from Abdul Shahid, effective from 14 April 2016, for a period of 6 years.

The matters of unfitness, which Mr Shahid did not dispute in the Disqualification Undertaking, were that:

  • he failed to ensure that Bosham Spice Ltd complied with its statutory obligations under The Immigration, Asylum and Nationality Act 2006 to ensure that relevant immigration checks were completed and copy documents retained, resulting in the employment of 2 illegal workers.

In that:

  • UKBA visited Memories of India at Old Bridge Road, Bosham, West Sussex, PO18 8PG on 06 September 2014

  • during the visit 2 illegal workers were encountered

  • Bosham Spice Ltd was served with a Civil Penalty Notice on 30 October 2014, with the fine being £20,000

  • the director wrote to Immigration Enforcement to raise an objection against the Civil Penalty Notice on 30 November 2014

  • the director wrote to the Court to raise an objection against the Civil Penalty Notice on 13 January 2015

  • the Court passed the appeal notice to the Secretary of State for the Home Office on the same date (13 January 2015)

  • in an Objection Outcome Note dated 15 December 2014, the Home Office concluded that the company remained liable for the £20,000 fine in full, after dismissing the appeal lodged by the director

  • the director filed a notice to appeal at Court on 13 January 2015

  • notice of the appeal hearing was issued on 25 February 2015 and the appeal listed for 11 May 2015

  • the director stated in his appeal that one of the workers had permission to work in the UK and supplied original documents which the director copied

  • the Director stated that the 2nd worker presented false documents which were not “reasonably apparent” as being false

  • the director argued that he had checked the employees’ paperwork prior to employing them and that one employee had not understood the officials due to language difficulties

  • this was rejected as the Company had only seen copies of documents and the officials had spoken to one of the individuals using Bangladeshi interpreters

  • the Home Office concluded that inadequate checks had been carried out and copy documents not retained

  • the appeal was dismissed and the fines remained at £10,000 per worker

  • the Home Office concluded that the evidence gathered demonstrated that the company had employed 2 workers illegally, and that a fine of £20,000 was appropriate

  • no payments have been made against the fine

A disqualification order has the effect that without specific permission of a court, a person with a disqualification cannot:

  • act as a director of a company

  • take part, directly or indirectly, in the promotion, formation or management of a company or limited liability partnership

  • be a receiver of a company’s property

In addition that person cannot act as an insolvency practitioner and there are many other restrictions are placed on disqualified directors by other regulations.

Disqualification undertakings are the administrative equivalent of a disqualification order but do not involve court proceedings. Further information on director disqualifications and restrictions is available.

The Insolvency Service administers the insolvency regime, investigating all compulsory liquidations and individual insolvencies (bankruptcies) through the Official Receiver to establish why they became insolvent. It may also use powers under the Companies Act 1985 to conduct confidential fact-finding investigations into the activities of live limited companies in the UK. In addition, the agency authorises and regulates the insolvency profession, deals with disqualification of directors in corporate failures, assesses and pays statutory entitlement to redundancy payments when an employer cannot or will not pay employees, provides banking and investment services for bankruptcy and liquidation estate funds and advises ministers and other government departments on insolvency law and practice.

Further information about the work of the Insolvency Service, and how to complain about financial misconduct, is available.

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Published 21 April 2016