Police Raid On Byron Hamburgers Rounds Up 35 Immigrants
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Police immigration raids on the Byron Hamburgers chain of restaurants have seen dozens of staff arrested, the Guardian has reported.
The raid took place across London on the morning of 4 July and the Home Office has confirmed 35 nationals from Brazil, Nepal, Egypt and Albania were among those rounded up.
A senior worker in one of the branches said staff had been told to attend a health and safety meeting at 9.30am that day, but instead immigration officials arrived and started to question people.
"It is fucking disgusting. Some of these people worked here for four or five years and they weren't even given a chance to say goodbye," the worker told the Guardian anonymously.
A Home Office source confirmed that 35 people were arrested on suspicion of breaches of immigration laws. They added: "They were arrested in order to progress potential immigration offences."
Byron confirmed it had helped facilitate the raid at the Home Office's request, but refused to respond to claims that it set up staff meetings on the false pretence they were for health and safety training.
In a statement, the chain said: "We can confirm that several of Byron's London restaurants were visited by representatives of the Home Office. These visits resulted in the removal of members of staff who are suspected by the Home Office of not having the right to work in the UK, and of possessing fraudulent personal and right to work documentation that is in breach of immigration and employment regulation."
There are 56 Byron restaurants across the country, with the chain owned by investment firm Hutton Collins, which bought the chain for £100million in 2013.
It added that the Home Office acknowledged that it had complied with its legal responsibilities as an employer, and had employed the staff after being shown "false/counterfeit documentation".
Words by James Dawson