Two South Derry restaurants could face fines of up £10,000 after illegal workers were discovered during raids by the UK Border Agency.

Acting on intelligence, UK Border Agency officers targeted the Shish Mahal Takeaway in Maghera on Thursday evening to question staff and ensure they had the right to work in the UK.

After the immigration status of staff was checked, a 22-year-old Indian man was discovered to be working illegally having over-stayed his student visa.

At the Indian Royale in Magherafelt the officers discovered a 48-year-old Bangladeshi man also working illegally.

A spokesman for the Agency said that “steps will now be taken to remove them both from the UK”.

“The businesses have each been issued with a civil penalty notice for employing the illegal workers,” he continued. “If the employers are unable to provide evidence that legally required checks were carried out before giving them a job – such as asking for a passport or a Home Office document – they may be liable for a fine of up to £10,000 per illegal worker.

Janet Wiseman, of the UK Border Agency, added, “Foreign nationals who are in this country illegally should be in no doubt that they will be found, arrested and removed from the UK.

“Businesses that think they can undercut competitors by employing illegal workers should be warned that they will face heavy fines and possible prosecution.

“We are sending a simple, clear message to people who are in the country illegally – more raids are planned and you will be caught.”

Every year, the UK Border Agency imposes civil penalties on thousands of companies which failed to carry out legally-required checks on their staff.

Employers unsure of the steps they need to take to avoid employing illegal workers can visit or they can call the UK Border Agency’s Employers Helpline on 0300 123 4699.

Anyone who suspects that illegal workers are being employed at a business can contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.