A gang has been jailed after police discovered they were producing fake UK immigration documents for people trying to move to the UK illegally.
Seven men and three women from Cardiff, Newport and Merthyr Tydfil were jailed following a hearing at Cardiff Crown Court, where Nick Jupp of UK Immigration Enforcement described them as an “organised criminal enterprise”.
The group was caught following a two-year investigation by UK Immigration Enforcement’s criminal and financial investigation team. During the investigation, it was revealed that they had created fake wage slips showing earnings of over £18,600 to sell to UK nationals so they were able to apply for UK spouse visas for up to £4,500.
According to the enforcement officers, ringleader Denaught Sharma, 56, would forge documents and open bank accounts for sponsors who would pay in money to create the image that their monthly income was large enough for them to be eligible to bring their spouse to Britain on a UK spouse visa.
Under rules set by the Home Office, £18,600 is the minimum amount that can be earned each year by sponsors if they wish to apply for a spouse visa.
The scam was initially uncovered in 2013 when Sharma was interviewed by police as a potential witness in an unrelated case and they discovered incriminating text messages.
As a result of these messages, the police began looking into his finances before the case was handed to Immigration Enforcement in 2016, when the other members of the gang were arrested.
Commenting on the arrests, Mr Jupp, assistant director of the criminal and financial investigation team, said: By bringing these criminals to justice we have stopped a concerted and systematic assault on the UK's immigration system."