Police have arrested 16 people following simultaneous raids by immigration officers at restaurants in Angus on Friday night.
UK Border Agency staff swooped around 6pm as diners sat down to eat at The Bengal Indian restaurant in Monifieth. Meanwhile, their colleagues targeted sister restaurant The Bengal in Forfar and addresses in Kirriemuir.
Three of the men in custody have been arrested in connection with “organised abuse of citizenship routes”, according to police.
Thirteen people are facing deportation after they were found to be working illegally.
UK Border Agency staff arrived in Monifieth in an unmarked van which mounted the pavement before they rushed into the premises.
Police were also scrambled to the scene and were still standing guard at the doors several hours later.
One local said there were “lots of police cars and vans with flashing lights”.
Norman Paton (26), of Wellbank Place, added: “I watched them take out boxes.”
Pamela Strachan (55), of Grange Road, had a table booked for 6.30pm at The Bengal but was turned away by police.