Three men are facing deportation after a visit to Leicester by immigration officers.
Following a tip-off, Home Office staff visited Oodles Chinese, in Granby Street, and questioned everyone inside to check whether they had the right to work in the UK. As a result, a Pakistani man aged 30 and an Indian man aged 32 were arrested for overstaying their visas. Both men have been ordered to report regularly to the Home Office while steps are taken to remove them from the UK. A 19-year-old Afghan man who was working at the restaurant was escorted from the premises on suspicion that he had no permission to work. He is also reporting regularly to the Home Office while his case is dealt with.
A spokesperson for the Home Office said: "Oodles Chinese was served a notice warning that the business will be liable for a financial penalty of up to £20,000 per illegal worker found, unless evidence is provided that the correct pre-employment checks were carried out, such as seeing a passport or a Home Office document.
"This is a potential total of up to £60,000."
Ismail Patel, owner of Oodles Chinese, told the Mercury the Pakistani and Indian men were not working at his premises, and he believed the Afghan man did have the right to work. He said he would be appealing against any Home Office claims to the contrary.
Alison Spowage, assistant director for Immigration Enforcement in the East Midlands, said: "Our teams carry out regular operations such as this, and businesses that do not play by the rules face being caught out. If they have not carried out the correct checks on their staff they will be liable for a heavy penalty."
Home Office staff visited the premises at about 4.30pm on Friday.
Mr Patel said: "They came here looking for an Algerian male who I had never heard of. The Pakistani man was just a friend of mine who parks his car at the restaurant and was not working for me. The Indian man was just delivering goods and is not an employee. The Afghan man had been working for me for eight days and I believe he has the right to work. I will be appealing against the Home Office's claims."
Anyone with information about suspected immigration abuse can report it by calling Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or by visiting: https://www.gov.uk/report-immigration-crime
Details from Leicester Mercury