Diplomat 'implicated' in UK visa scam

08 Jun 2011 | Posted by Carl Thomas

A British diplomat has been accused of assisting in a large scale UK visa sham focusing on Albania.

Mark Griffith, an embassy official in the Albanian capital of Tirana, turned a blind eye to fake UK work permit applications, Southwark Crown Court heard earlier this week (June 7th).

Recruitment consultant Samuel Fongho convinced the UK work permit office in Sheffield that the 68 applicants immigrating to Britain were taking up skilled vacancies.

Following the acceptance of the paper applications in Sheffield, the workers went in person to the British Embassy in Albania, where entry clearance officer Mr Griffith finalised their UK immigration process.

In return for a UK visa, the immigrants were prepared to pay Fongho's recruitment company, Concept Care Solutions, fees of over £7,000.

Prosecutor Simon Wild explained to the court that Griffith had abused his position by passing UK work permit applications that were clearly fake or forged.

Mr Wild also told the jurors that the prosecution case against Fongho alleges that he exploited his position.

"He exploited the near-desperation of some people in Albania to come here, and he used false documents, forged documents, fake documents, to get work permits for these people," said the prosecutor.

"He got them work permits, in short, by fraud, and when he had succeeded in getting work permits, he then proceeded to get visas for them to come to this country on the back of fraudulently obtained work permits. It is pretty well as good as a passport to come and live here forever."