Kilcock Chinese restaurant owner fined for illegal worker

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A Kildare restaurant operator has been fined €1,000 for employing a man with no work permit.

A Kildare restaurant operator has been fined €1,000 for employing a man with no work permit.

Jian Bin Chen, trading as Master Chef Chinese, of 11 Newtown, Kilcock, was prosecuted by the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation for employing Tian Guan Chen without a permit.

Judge Desmond Zaidan was told at Kilcock District Court on Tuesday last, 1 July that the defendant, Mr Jian Bin Chen was in Ireland for ten years but did not speak English.

His wife translated for him in the Court.

On 21 May 2013, a Department inspector called to the defendant Mr. Chen who could not produce a permit for the employee, Tuan Guan Chen, who the Court was told, was a family friend.

Mr. Chen had been inspected in January 2012 and he had no previous convictions.

The employee did have a PPS number but no work permit. He was taken on at a time when Mrs. Chen was ill and they needed extra help.

Their solicitor said they wanted to apologise.

The solicitor said that the business, like other restaurant businesses, was stuggling.

Judge Zaidan said this is a highly based cash industry and noted that he had to leave a take away premises at one point to get cash from a machine because it would not take a debit card.

Judge Zaidan asked what the immigration authorities were doing in Ireland. He said you would not cut out immigration but you would reduce it significantly.

The Department’s solicitor, Sharon Murphy, said that message could be relayed to the Department. “It is accepted that there is a certain lack of cohesion between various departments,” she said.

The Court heard that the family friend was paid €38.92 for two days he was hired.

The Department solicitor said there is no record of the employee Tian Guan Chen’s whereabouts now.

Judge Zaidan said the situation was embarrasing.

Mr. Chen’s solicitor said this was an administrative error and there was no attempt to hide anything.

Judge Zaidan asked if the State did not ask for proof of right to residency before it issues PPS numbers and other documents to people.

At first he said he would opt for a €1,500 fine for Mr. Chen.

The latter’s solicitor asked him to consider a lower figure.

He said Mr. Chen lived locally and hired local people to work.

He said the Chens were about breaking even, earning a profit of €3,000 to €4,000 for the last tax year.

Judge Zaidan said he could fine Mr. Chen up to €4,000 but decided to reduce the fine to €1,000.