Four men from Bangladesh and Pakistan have been held after immigration officers swooped on three restaurants in Preston.
The raids came after tip-offs and three of the men are now awaiting deportation, while the fourth is having his case assessed.
Enforcement officers visited the Double Tree Indian in Garstang Road, Fulwood, the Silk Route in West Strand Road and the Jaffa Mediterranean Restaurant in Friargate last Friday. Staff in all three establishments were questioned to establish whether they had the right to live and work in the UK.
At the Double Tree officers say they found a 22-year-old Bangladeshi man and established that he had an outstanding immigration application which did not entitle him to work in Britain. He was escorted from the premises and must report regularly to Immigration Enforcement while his case is progressed
In the Silk Route, officers arrested two Bangladeshi men, aged 33 and 34, who had overstayed their visit visas. Officers then visited Jaffa Mediterranean Cuisine and arrested a 28-year-old Pakistani man who had overstayed his student visa. All three were transferred to immigration detention pending removal from the UK.
The three businesses were served with notices warning they could be fined up to £20,000 per illegal worker unless they can demonstrate that appropriate document checks were carried out, such as seeing a passport or Home Office permission to work.
A Home Office spokesman said: “We are determined to take action against employers who choose to use illegal labour and our teams carry out regular operations such as this. Illegal working cheats the taxpayer, undercuts honest employers and means legitimate job seekers are denied employment opportunities.
“Businesses need to make sure they carry out the required ‘right to work’ checks on their staff as not doing so carries the risk of a heavy penalty.”