Two recruitment directors have been disqualified for a total of 27 years for failing to ensure company staff were not exploited.
John Howard and Lee Carroll of 7 Star (Recruitment) Ltd were banned following an investigation by The Insolvency Service that found migrant workers were paid below the legal minimum wage.
Howard was disqualified for the maximum period of 15 years while Carroll was banned for 12 years.
The investigation also found 7 Star employees were required to use accommodation connected to the agency which restricted their ability to seek work elsewhere, contrary to the Gangmasters (Licensing Authority) Regulations 2005.
Ken Beasley, the official receiver in the Public Interest Unit at the Insolvency Service, said: “The company brought in foreign workers to the UK with the promise of jobs.
“The reality was that the workers were placed in unfit and unsafe accommodation, had deductions made from their wages for the accommodation and were paid below the minimum wage.
“The workers were unable to leave their jobs because their accommodation was to the agency and they would have been left homeless.
“The extremely tough disqualifications handed out by the court show the seriousness of this case.”
The investigation found Howard and Carroll also failed to ensure that company staff used licensed gangmasters (the organiser and overseer of work by casual manual labourers) and instead used unlicensed UK suppliers and foreign sources.
Carroll also failed to ensure that 7 Stars paid VAT to HMRC, and as a result the company incurred a VAT debt of £325,361 for the period when Carroll was a director.