In a series of UK Border Agency raids, a 39-year-old Sri Lankan man was arrested at Booze n Food in Liverpool Road, Widnes, a 37-year-old Sri Lankan was detained at the Halton Brow in Runcorn and a 23-year-old Sri Lankan was held at the Corner Store in Picton Avenue, Runcorn.
The three are accused of overstaying their visas and working illegally in the shops.
They are being held in custody until they can be made to leave the country.
Eddy Montgomery, north west operations director for the UK Border Agency, said: “We are determined to stamp down on those businesses that ignore UK immigration laws. Any employer who takes on foreign nationals without permission to work in the UK is breaking the law.
“If people ignore UK immigration laws, we will find them and remove them from the country.”
The raids were part of a nationwide campaign to tackle illegal working, sham marriages, bogus colleges and organised immigration crime.
Anyone who has information on suspected immigration offenders can contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.