Indian couple jailed in British immigration scam

New Delhi, May 17: An Indian couple has been jailed in Britain for involvement in an immigration scam and to assist people in their illegal overstay in the country, a British High Commission release here said Thursday.

Vijay Sorthia, 35, and his wife Bhawna, 31, have been sentenced to 10 years and 15 months in prison respectively by a court in Britain.

In May 2010, Sorthia, an immigration advisor who ran a firm called Migration Gurus based in Wealdstone in London, was arrested at his home.

Officers searched the property and found approximately 330,000 pounds (over $524,000) in cash mostly hidden at the back of a cupboard.

Sorthia’s wife who claimed to be employed as a cleaner by Migration Gurus, was arrested one month later.

The couple later skipped police bail and fled to India. But they were re-arrested upon returning to Britain in September 2011.

On May 15, a jury at Isleworth Crown Court found both of them guilty of fraud and jailed them for different prison terms.

Investigations by the UK Border Agency revealed that Vijay Sorthia had dozens of clients who had applied to the Home Office for visas claiming to be highly skilled migrants.

The Indian couple, in fact, were using dozens of “cover” companies, with bank accounts registered in the names of Vijay and his wife, to provide clients with payslips and wage payments to make it seem like they were employed and were earning much more than they actually did. These payslips were then used to support immigration applications to the Home Office, the release said.