SEVEN men found working illegally at three Indian restaurants in Ulverston and Windermere have been arrested after raids by immigration officers.
Home Office enforcement officials swooped last night to carry out checks which will now see the offenders deported.
Four Bangladeshi men aged 28 to 38 were found to be working illegally at Naaz Indian Restaurant on Queen Street, Ulverston.
Three had overstayed their visas and the fourth was in possession of false documents.
Later, officers visited two premises on Crescent Road, Windermere.
In the Prince of India they found two Bangladeshi men, aged 27 and 32, working illegally.
Both men had overstayed their visas and were arrested.
Officers then carried out checks at Indian Ocean, where they discovered a 21-year-old Bangladeshi man who had overstayed his visa.
All seven men are currently detained pending their removal from the UK.
The three businesses will be served with a civil penalty notice for employing the illegal workers.
If the employers are unable to provide evidence that legally-required pre-employment checks were carried out, a fine of up to £10,000 per worker will be imposed, the Home Office said.
Deputy director Wallace Wilson, from the Home Office immigration enforcement team, said: “Illegal working fuels illegal immigration to the UK and that is why we are carrying out operations like these.
“If you are a business you must carry out the correct checks on your staff or you could end up with a heavy fine.
“We are happy to work with businesses to let them know what checks need to be made on staff, but those who break the law should know that they will face heavy fines.”
Measures to toughen civil penalties against rogue businesses employing illegal migrants have been unveiled by the Government.
A six-week consultation has been launched as part of plans under the Immigration Bill to make it more difficult for illegal migrants to live and work in the UK, and to take tougher action against the rogue employers.
Minister Mark Harper said: “Every day our enforcement officers undertake operations like this across the country to combat illegal working.
“Employers already have a duty to check that their employees have the right to work in the UK, and can face civil penalties if they fail to do so.
“The Immigration Bill, which we will introduce later this year, will include proposals to get even tougher on unscrupulous employers, who exploit illegal immigrants and undercut legitimate business.
“But we will also simplify processes to make it easier for compliant employers to fulfill their responsibilities.”
Employers unsure of the steps they need to take to avoid employing illegal workers can visit http://www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/business-sponsors/preventing-illegal-working/ or call the Home Office Employers Helpline on 0300 123 4699.