The UK Border Agency (UKBA) has arrested four workers in Lancashire following a series of investigations across the area.
Intelligence received by the agency prompted them to target three businesses over the course of the weekend (1st February) in order to check the immigration statuses of the workers and ascertain whether or not they have the required UK work permits.
The first of the three businesses to be targeted was the Millon Takeaway near Preston, where two Bangladeshi men were found to have overstayed their UK visas. They were arrested on the spot.
The Happy Shopper in Barnoldswick was the next business to be targeted, where a 27-year-old man from Pakistan was found to be working illegally having also overstayed his UK visa. Meanwhile, over at Zainab Collections in Blackburn, a 37-year-old Pakistani was arrested for the same crime.
Alison Wray, head of enforcement for the North West with the UKBA, said that as usual, the agency is happy to work with companies that make the effort to check that their overseas employees have the right to be working in the UK but that strict action will be taken against those that wilfully avoid the checks.
She remarked: "We will continue to track down those who have no right to be living or working in the UK. This was a successful operation unearthing four immigration offenders. The message is clear; if you are here illegally we will find you, we will catch you and we will remove you from the UK.
"The UKBA is targeting unscrupulous employers who hire illegal workers thereby undercutting wages and potentially exploiting vulnerable workers. We are happy to work with businesses and advise what checks need to be carried out on staff, but those who break the law should know that they will face heavy fines."
The companies involved will be issued with civil penalty notices but could also face fines of up to £10,000 per worker if they are unable to prove that they conducted the required checks against the individuals.