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BIA raids in Soho London Today

Noborders! | 11.10.2007 22:49 | No Border Camp 2007 | Migration | Repression | Workers' Movements | London | World

More than thirty people were arrested and detained in raids by the Borders and Immigration Agency and the Metropolitan Police on 5 restaurants in the Soho area of London this afternoon.

This is the latest episode in the Home Office's escalating war on migrant workers in Britain's capital, which sees as many as 60 raids on workplaces a week. Liam Byrne, the Immigration Minister repeats in the press release his boast that his department manages to deport a migrant worker or refugee from the UK every 8 minutes.

Raids by over 100 police and BIA officers on five restaurants in the heart of London's West End at lunch time today led to over 30 arrests for "illegal" working, the Home Office announced this afternoon

The unannounced raids - part of the Border and Immigration Agency's (BIA) Operation Zavijava - were carried out at just after 12.30pm in the Chinatown area of the city. The restaurants targeted were the Royal Dragon, the Golden Dragon and the Luxuriance Peking, all on Gerrard Street, the Hong Kong on Lisle Street, and the Special Zone on Wardour Street.

The arrested workers were a mix of Chinese and Malaysian nationals none of whom had permission to work in the UK. Enforcement teams from the BIA, assisted by officers from the Metropolitan Police, also seized documents found at the premises.

The Home Office says steps will now be taken to remove the people detained in the raids from the country, and the businesses involved could face fines for employing workers without the correct immigration department papers.

The full Home Office Press release is given here

Tony Smith, BIA's regional director for the South East said about 60 raids on illegal workers were taking place in London each week.

The BBC gives an estimate of the number of undocumented Chinese nationals entering the UK each year as around 50,000 - but a Home Office spokesman said there was no official figure.

In the next few weeks BIA will roll out their biometric visa programme to China, which will mean taking a fingerprint from every visa applicant.

Liam Byrne, lord of the migration estate, waxes lyrical talking about how he imagines that taken together; biometric surveillance will enable the British state to ‘manage’ Chinese migration through "creating a triple ring of security - before travel, at the border and within the UK for those here illegally."

Phew I feel so much more secure now - I'm so glad we don't live in a repressive state like China innit?

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