Three takeaways - in Lisburn, Banbridge and Dungannon - are facing potential penalties totalling £140,000 after immigration offenders from China were found working at their premises.
In intelligence led operations, immigration enforcement officers visited The Money Tree, Sloan Street, Lisburn and Donaghmore Chinese Cuisine, Pomeroy Road, Dungannon on Friday, September 15. Phoenix Palace, Dromore Road, Banbridge was visited on Friday, August 25.
A 54-year-old man was arrested at The Money Tree, a 33-year-old woman and two men, aged 26 and 40, were arrested at Donaghmore Chinese Cuisine and a 34-year-old man was arrested at Phoenix Palace.
All had entered the UK illegally and are currently in detention while steps are taken to remove them from the UK.
A 38-year-old at Donaghmore Chinese Cuisine and a 48-year-old man at Phoenix Place, who both have outstanding immigration applications which do not entitle them to work, must now report regularly to Immigration Enforcement while their cases are progressed.
The businesses were each served a referral notice in relation to the illegal workers. The notice warns that a financial penalty of up to £20,000 per illegal worker arrested will be imposed unless the employers can demonstrate that appropriate right-to-work document checks were carried out, such as seeing a passport or Home Office document confirming permission to work. If proof is not provided, this is a potential total of up to £20,000 for The Money Tree, £80,000 for Donaghmore Chinese Cuisine and £40,000 for Phoenix Palace.
Mike Golden, from Immigration Enforcement in Northern Ireland, said: “Those who use and exploit illegal workers face severe financial penalties.
“We are happy to work with businesses to ensure the right pre-employment checks are carried out, but those intent on operating outside the law will be found and will be punished.”
Anyone with information about suspected immigration abuse can contact www.gov.uk/report-immigration-crime or call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
Information to help employers carry out checks to prevent illegal working can be found at www.gov.uk/government/collections/employers-illegal-working-penalties
It includes a quick answer right-to-work tool to help employers check if someone has the right to work in the UK.