A West Midlands plastics recycling firm has said a raid by immigration officers, in which seven of its workers were arrested, has left it with a “big hole” in its workforce.
Wolverhampton-based Recycled Plastics UK was raided by the West Midlands Immigration Enforcement team on 11 October after suspicions that the men were working illegally.
The company said the seven men taken away had worked at the company for up to three years, and were employed at different times.
It faces fines of up to £140,000 if it has broken employment rules but is confident it can prove that precautions were taken.
Director Robert Coup said: “They had passports, National Insurance numbers, bank accounts and were on the Government pension scheme. Our payroll is also real-time information so was updated on a monthly basis.”
He said the company, which employs 35 people from Europe, India, Pakistan and the UK at its Freeman Street site, carried out right to work checks on the suspects before hiring them.
Coup said the arrests would affect its business, and called on the Home Office to establish a database of illegal workers to help employers avoid such situations.
“This has left us with a big hole in our workforce because they were skilled people who we sent on training courses and whom we trusted,” he said. “It will take us a long time to recover from this and business will be disrupted while we seek replacements.
“We followed all the Home Office checks available but still fell foul of the system.”