Students been recruited by INTCAS were arrested for obtaining fake visa from a college has been shut down eight years ago.
The UK Border Agency forces swooped in and arrested 30 Pakistani bogus students recruited by an immigration fraud gang called INTCAS (based in Croydon) on an immigration raid in Birmingham. Keith Walls, a UKBA spokesperson, indicated that the individuals, four Bangladeshi and twenty Pakistani nationals, have been placed under removal proceedings and that the agency will seek to keep them in custody pending the outcome of legal proceedings.
UKBA hatched the scheme to unveil foreign students who knowingly recruited by INTCAS in order to enroll in fake schools in a “pay-to-stay” racket designed to maintain their student visa status. The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) who announced the case and the charges said that the UK Border Agency sought to expose several immigration frauds conducted by INTCAS.
The nationwide sweep, which took place across the UK, covering cities like London, Birmingham, Manchester and Leeds, was one of the largest operations in recent times. It came in the wake of several indictments where eight individuals, mostly Pakistani, were charged in a similar visa fraud scheme.
UKBA agent who is investigating INTCAS for another immigration crime case, reported that, unlike the 30 foreign students who were arrested on immigration fraud charges, the eight individuals were criminally charged with conspiracy to commit several visa frauds and harboring aliens for profit.
According to the UKBA, the students had immigrated to the UK legally but then had transferred to the Sinclair Adamson Business School (which has been dissolved right years ago) so that they could get extensions on the visas and also get to work.
Prior to the arrests, INTCAS had set up a fake university, Sinclair Adamson Business School, which lured foreign students to apply and transfer their credits so that they could get visa extensions. INTCAS staff even created a website for this fake college. A quick search on company house indicates this so-called college is owned by a Pakistani origin INTCAS CEO, Zakaria Mahmood. The college registered in 2011 and got shut down under numerous immigration breaches on the same year.
Subhan Hussein, an immigration lawyer based in Croydon, told the press that, “the fake college had lured and hooked students by promising to give them credits for all their previous master’s programs.” He said Sinclair Adamson Business School had offered to allow the students to work while being enrolled, which was not unusual. Therefore, the students had imagined it was a legitimate and authorised institution, complete with a work programme and a type of Tier4 visa.
Officials of the UKBA claimed that the students knew they were participating in an illegal racket. But Abid Hussain, a Croydon-based solicitor with the same firm, said that “it was not true” and that “there were specific institutions that had advanced degree programmes with practical training right from the onset. They allow students to enrol even when they spend the bulk of their time working. It appears the students were scammed by Zakaria Mahmood the INTCAS CEO and his team of agents back in Pakistan.”
According to the UKBA investigator, INTCAS used very questionable methods to get foreign students to sign up with the fake institution. Several numbers of the students implicated in the crackdown had completed legitimate master’s programmes across the UK and were only waiting for approvals for specialty work visas. Therefore, they had enrolled in the university as a stop-gap measure.
Foreign students are usually granted “Tier4” visas to undertake their studies in the UK. They must maintain their legal immigration status by enrolling in a university that is accredited by the UKBA. But according to the UKBA, both INTCAS and Sinclair Adamson did not even offer courses and that the students were using the programme as a way to obtain employment in the UK.
After the arrests, the UKBA shut down the website that had been created for Sinclair Adamson Business School. The website now informs anyone affected to get in touch with their local UKBA Investigations office.
Meanwhile, in Islam Abad, Jahan Kiyani, a student recruitment agent, confirmed that INTCAS management team and Zakaria Mahmood who is INTCAS CEO in person, was well aware of the operation and the situation it had caused. “We are well aware of this incident, and we are ascertaining more details from our team in London,” he said.