Two takeaway restaurants in Belfast are facing heavy fines after two staff were detained by immigration officials.
The pair, a Bangladeshi man, aged 29 who was allegedly working in breach of his visa conditions, and a Chinese woman, aged 38 who allegedly entered the UK illegally are now expected to be deported.
Both businesses on the city's Dublin Road have been issued with civil penalty notices for employing the workers and are liable for a fine of up to £10,000 unless they can prove that the correct pre-employment checks were carried out.
Mike Golden of the Home Office, said: "We are working hard across Northern Ireland to track down and remove from the country those who seek to abuse the UK's immigration laws.
"Illegal working is not a victimless crime. It defrauds the taxpayer, undercuts honest employers and cheats legitimate job seekers out of employment opportunities.
"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 they will face heavy fines."