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Immigration officials must stop raiding restaurants at peak time

11 April 2008
Immigration officials must stop raiding restaurants at peak time

The chairman of the Labour Party's Ethnic Minority Taskforce is calling on immigration officials to stop raiding South Asian restaurants in their hunt for illegal immigrants.

Keith Vaz, Labour MP for Leicester East, says officials are entering restaurants at peak times, forcing customers to leave their meals without paying and then closing the restaurant before questioning managers, waiters and chefs.

He is now calling for a meeting with Home Secretary Jacqui Smith to highlight the issue.

"There is no significant evidence to show that the raids are producing significant evidence of illegal entry into the country," said Vaz.

"All they seek to do is cause mayhem in restaurants, costing the owners hundreds and sometimes thousands of pounds. These are not just fishing expeditions, they are targeted annihilations."

The MP wants an immediate halt to the raids and talks held with employers to see what can be done to stamp out illegal workers: "It should not be a requirement for people to go to work with passports," Vaz said.

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By Roger Bushby

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