A west London-based company faces a potential fine of up to £170,000 after 17 illegal workers from India and Sri Lanka were arrested during a raid by Britain immigration officials.

Acting on intelligence, officers targeted the premises of a company called Only 4U Ltd on December 10.

The operation was part of an ongoing clampdown on illegal working in the west London area, and coincides with a large-scale advertising campaign warning companies of heavy fines if they are caught employing illegal foreign labour.

The 17 men, all Indians and Sri Lankans aged between 22 and 49, were arrested for a variety of immigration offences.

Ten of them were failed asylum seekers. The U.K. Border Agency will now seek to remove all of them from the country.

The employers have been told they will face a fine unless they can prove that they carried out the correct right-to-work checks on staff.

Inspector Dick Stratton of the U.K. Border Agency said, “Illegal working has a serious impact on communities, taking jobs from those who are genuinely allowed to work“.

He added, “My officers will continue to target illegal working to reduce the attractiveness of the area to illegal immigrants, and more operations are planned in the future.”

Civil penalties for companies that fail to carry out proper checks when employing migrant workers from outside Europe were introduced by the government in February 2008, allowing fines of up to £10,000 per illegal employee.

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