FIVE illegal workers from Bangladesh were arrested at an Indian restaurant in Littlehampton and a take-away in Wick, following raids by a Home Office immigration team.
Officials in three white vans, with Home Office markings on the side, went to the Little Magna Tandoori restaurant, in High Street shortly before 6pm on Friday (August 16).
They then visited the Curry Villa take-away in Wick Parade, Wick, at about 7.30pm.
A Home Office spokesman said the operation resulted from intelligence received about the food outlets.
At both premises, the immigration enforcement officers questioned staff to check if they had the right to be in the UK.
Two men were arrested at Little Magna. One, aged 22, was working in breach of his visa conditions while the other, aged 27, had overstayed his visa, said the spokesman.
At the Curry Villa, three men were arrested. One, aged 25, had entered the country illegally, another, aged 31, was working in breach of his visa conditions, while a 33-year-old had overstayed his visa.
All five were transferred to immigration detention, where they will be held until their removal from the UK.
The spokesman added: “The businesses were served a notice warning that a civil penalty of up to £10,000 per illegal worker found will be imposed unless proof is provided that the correct right-to-work checks were carried out.
“This is a potential total of £20,000 for Little Magna and £30,000 for Curry Villa.”
Louise Whiteoak, head of the Home Office immigration enforcement team for Kent and Sussex, said: “Illegal working defrauds the taxpayer, undercuts honest employers and cheats legitimate job seekers out of employment opportunities.
“We are sending a clear message to employers who choose to use illegal labour: we will find you and you will pay a heavy penalty. We will not allow the growth of a shadow economy for illegal migrants.
“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 financial penalties.”
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 can call the Employers Helpline on 0300 123 4699.
Anyone with information about suspected immigration abuse can contact Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 anonymously.
Alternatively, they can log on to the website www.crimestoppers-uk.org.
The spokesman pointed out that all intelligence given by the public and other sources would be treated in confidence and protected.
The raids were carried out against a background of the Government crackdown on illegal immigrants.
“Net migration is at its lowest level for a decade showing the Home Office is continuing to bring immigration back under control,” the spokesman said.