Travel agents are alleged to have been providing fake immigration stamps
Three Indian travel agents are under investigation after British authorities said they had been providing visa applicants with fake immigration stamps.
The agents from the southern city of Bangalore allegedly supplied counterfeit immigration stamps to support their clients’ visa applications to several countries including Britain.
The scam was uncovered after eight applicants applied for UK visas using passports containing fake immigration stamps, the British Deputy High Commission in Chennai said in a statement.
“The agents advised the applicants to get the stamps to show that they were all well-travelled and to hide the fact that they had all broken the rules of their previous UK visas,” it said.
After British immigration officials retained the suspicious documents, the applicants tried to apply for new passports saying their old ones had been lost, triggering further investigations by authorities.
“We are aware of a number of travel agents across India who encourage applicants to submit fraudulent documents or passports that have been tampered with,” said Samuel Darling, regional manager for the UK’s Immigration Enforcement Risk & Liaison Overseas Network.
“Those found guilty of visa fraud could have their passports revoked, receive a ban of up to ten years on travelling to the UK as well as other countries including the United States and Australia and face criminal proceedings.
“It’s important that people know the consequences of being caught, before they agree,” Darling added.
In 2009, a British court jailed three Indians for providing fake degrees and identities to hundreds of immigrants, in what prosecutors at the time said was the biggest visa scam ever seen in the UK.
They were jailed for orchestrating the fraud factory in west London that allowed Indian and Pakistani nationals to study and work in Britain.