According to a recent report by the HM Revenues and Customs office, a gang of fraudsters in the UK who set up companies to help 900 people stay in the country have been spared jail time. With hundreds of illegal migrants receiving the fake UK visas, experts believe that this could be the largest ever fake visa scam to hit Britain.
The group responsible for the fraudulent activity laundered millions through a selection of 53 businesses, making temporary transfers into client bank accounts. The company also helped to support the fake UK work permits that they created for customers by designing fake pay slips and using false information on around 900 unique applications for entrepreneur and general UK visas.
The news reports on this huge scam suggest that the group was attempting to make it appear as though the immigrants were well-paid employees, capable of achieving the £50,000 required for an entrepreneur visa. One of the customers of the group was working at a fast-food company during his time in the UK, though his bank accounts showed a £50,000 salary.
Though the scam might have made it easier for migrants to get UK visas, it had the potential to cost taxpayers around £16.6 million if it had gone undiscovered. According to the courts, the fraudulent activity was "industrial" in scale, and highly sophisticated too. Judge Martine Griffith noted that many people attempting to deal with Immigration UK rules might be tempted to use services like this one, because it's very difficult for them to achieve the annual income they need to maintain a UK visa without help.
The HRMC worked closely with the Home Office team to gather the evidence required to convict the group responsible for the scam. However, the Home Office and HMRC are both reaching out to all residents of the UK, asking for information from anyone who knows anything about additional scams like this one that may be taking place around the country.