TWO Whitley Bay restaurants could be facing fines of several thousands of pounds following raids by immigration officers last week.
Four illegal workers were arrested after undercover officers paid visits to two Asian food establishments in Whitley Road.
Acting on intelligence, the officers from the Home Office visited Shikara restaurant at around 5.30pm on last Wednesday and questioned staff to check if they had the right to be working in the UK.
After questioning they arrested three men.
A 34-year-old Bangladeshi who had overstayed his visa, a 42-year-old Bangladeshi who had entered the country illegally, and a 44-year-old from Pakistan who was working in breach of his visa conditions.
The following day, officers visited Sheba takeaway and arrested a 44-year-old Bangladeshi man who did not have the right to work in the UK.
Both businesses will now have to prove that the correct checks were carried out on the workers, or pay a civil penalty of up to £10,000 per illegal worker.
Steps will also be taken to remove the workers from the country.
Wallace Wilson, of Home Office immigration enforcement, said: “Illegal working has a serious impact on communities, undermining legitimate businesses and taking jobs from those who are genuinely allowed to work.
“More visits like this are being planned for the north east.
“While we are happy to work with businesses to let them know what checks need to be done on staff, those who do break the law should know that we are out there looking for them and they will face heavy fines.”
Anyone who suspects that illegal workers are being employed at a business can call Crimestoppers on 0800 555111 or visit www.crimestoppers-uk.org