Tesco faces illegal worker fines

Ben Southwood
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SUPERMARKET giant Tesco may be hit with fines after the UK Border Agency (UKBA) found it was employing foreign students for more hours than allowed by their visas.

Twenty students were arrested in a 3am raid on a Croydon warehouse where employees work on fulfilling internet orders. Tesco faces fines of up to £10,000 per worker if the UKBA finds they did not carry out the legally required checks.

The students are not illegal immigrants, and did have the right to work, but their visas limit term-time employment to 20 hours a week. Investigators found they had been working some 50 to 70 hours.

In a statement, Tesco stressed that it was working with the authorities to tackle the issue, and that it did not sanction what the immigration authorities describe as “visa abuse”.

“In co-operation with Tesco, the UK Border Agency visited our dotcom store in Croydon in July,” the statement read.

“We take our responsibilities as an employer very seriously and do not condone illegal working of any kind,” it went on.

Seven of the student workers have been deported, as part of a campaign by the UKBA, which has resulted in the deportation of around 2,000 illegal workers.