Parcels distribution firm Yodel says it is working with immigration officials following a raid at one of its depots in Surrey last Friday (3 May) that resulted in the arrest of 10 men working there.

Acting on a tip-off, some 40 Home Office immigration officers took part in the operation at Yodel’s site in Ellis Road, Mitcham, questioning staff to ensure they had the right to be working in the UK.

Of the 10 arrested, two Brazilians were subsequently released without further action after it emerged that they held dual nationality entitling them to work in Europe.

Four of the other eight – two Brazilians, one Nigerian and one Ugandan – are currently in immigration detention and the other four - two Ghanaians, one Brazilian and one Zambian – have been placed on immigration bail, while steps are taken to remove all eight from the country.

The business was served with a notice warning that a civil penalty of up to £80,000 (£10,000 per illegal worker) would be imposed unless proof was provided that the correct right-to-work checks had been carried out.

A Home Office spokesman said that proof would need to be provided within the next two to three weeks.

A spokesman for the parcels firm said the eight staff concerned were not employed by Yodel but by a third party that provided services to it at the depot. He added that Yodel had been “presented with documentation that we now understand to have been counterfeit”.

“We will continue to work with the Home Office to ascertain exactly what happened,” he continued. In the meantime, he said, “there has been no impact on service.”

  • Employers unsure of the steps they need to take to avoid employing illegal workers should see the guidance on the Home Office website or call the Employers Helpline on 0300 123 4699.