'East London can stop panicking': Tayyabs curry house reopens after immigration raid closure

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The owner of an award-winning curry house has vowed to “get their house in order” following a 48-hour shutdown by immigration officials for allegedly employing illegal workers.

Family-owned restaurant Tayyabs, in Whitechapel, was temporarily closed on Tuesday for allegedly employing illegal workers.

Officials served a closure notice due to “outstanding civil penalty fines amounting to £95,000” after previous offences.

The East End institution, where queues are common for fans of their tandoori lamb chops, claims some staff work permits were not properly vetted by an external recruitment company.

It has now reopened after news of the shutdown caused dismay among regular diners for whom the eatery is a cult favourite. Since opening in 1972 the restaurant has won food awards and boasts actress Christina Hendricks and retail expert Mary Portas among its celebrity supporters.

Journalist Sunny Hundal tweeted: “East London can stop panicking. Restaurant Tayyabs is open again after an ‘illegal working notice’.”

Another relieved diner wrote on Facebook: “Tayyabs is open again…. panic over!”

Boss Aleem Tayyab said he would now bring immigration permits checks in-house as he blamed a third party for oversights which led to the shutdown.

He said staff are mostly British, but also originally citizens of Bangladesh, Pakistan, India and Eastern Europe.

But following the raid by the Home Office’s Immigration Enforcement agency, it is alleged that some of the 40 staff were working illegally or lacking correct permits.

The Home Office said nine people were found without the correct documentation. Six Pakistani nationals were arrested, with five of them facing deportation.

The restaurant was allowed to reopen after a magistrate gave them the go ahead yesterday, but they must comply with immigration laws.

Mr Tayyab said: “We’re incredibly busy but now we’ve realised that now I need to sit down with one of my brothers to do the recruitment and all the compliance checks ourselves now rather than getting a third party to do it.

“It’s been devastating for us, we’ve never been closed for this long and we have to put our house in order.

“We’re very sorry for the inconvenience to our customers and we’re looking forward to seeing them soon.”

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