Fusion Buffet Grantham will not have his license revoked after a ‘mistake’ led to the employment of two illegal workers

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A restaurant will not have its license revoked after employing two illegal workers.

South Kesteven District Council Licensing Committee decided today (Tuesday) to suspend the license of Nepalese restaurant Fusion Buffet for a period of 10 days while conditions are implemented to ensure that illegal workers will not be not employed in the future.

The owners of the restaurant, based at the George Center, Ishan and Manish Acharya, said it was “a real mistake”.

Fusion buffet in Grantham. Image via: Google Streetview (55241896)

Documents presented to the council reported how, on January 10, Lincolnshire Police and Home Office immigration officers carried out an “intelligence-based law enforcement visit” to the premises.

They said there were three employees, including Ishan Acharya, who previously shared ownership of the restaurant with his brother Manish, as well as a waitress and a trainee chef.

Police said the two workers had previously been cleared to be employed for seasonal work, but their visas had expired, meaning they had no permission to work in the UK, and their visas had expired. originally did not allow working in a restaurant either.

The waitress lived in a flat in Grantham owned by the company, while the chef was a friend who had an outstanding asylum claim lodged with the Home Office.

According to reports, when questioned by officers, Manish Acharaya said he had sent ‘right to work check’ documents to his accountant, but saw the waitress’s permit only stating seasonal work.

The owners’ legal representative explained that the waitress was paid minimum wage and was housed by the owners, with a statement from the worker stating that she worked an average of 32-36 hours a week and was offered a shareholding by 10%. in the company if all went well.

The rep said revoking Fusion Buffet’s license would be “using a hammer to crack a nut” and in the specific circumstances, “disproportionate to the actual wrongdoing here.”

Fusion Buffet has already been fined £10,000, which has been reduced due to its cooperation with the investigation. The committee received multiple references for Manish stating that he is “honest” and “trustworthy”.

The owners’ representative said: ‘I think on that occasion when the police and the Home Office visited on January 10, with a minimum of investigation, they could have quickly seen that it was not not one of those terrible cases that you see and hear on the news about the exploitation of vulnerable people.

“Yes, they made a terrible mistake and it shouldn’t have happened, believe me, they have already been punished for it.

“I think you have good people running this establishment. I can assure you it won’t happen again.”

In a statement read by the committee’s legal adviser, he said: ‘The committee has acknowledged the premises licensee’s apology, admission of lack of knowledge in verifying employees’ rights to work in the UK and confirmation that there was no intent to break the law.

“He also acknowledged the efforts made by the licensee of the premises since the visit on 10 January 2022, to ensure, where appropriate, that staff held the appropriate license to work in this particular business in the UK. and to undergo the necessary training to be confident in hiring staff, as well as assurances about their future conduct in this regard.

“The commission finds that the licensee of the establishment has occupied the premises since June 2021 and is therefore relatively new to the restaurant business, but this is not an excuse for not carrying out the mandatory checks.

“Given the evidence heard, the committee was concerned that the licensee of the establishment appeared to be unaware of its legal responsibilities regarding the employment of illegal workers.

“The panel has concluded that in this case, the imposition of additional conditions on the premises license and a suspension of the premises license for a period of 10 days are both proportionate and necessary to achieve the objective of preventing crime and disorder.”



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