The last of the four men was sentenced to 13 months’ imprisonment on 3 February after he pleaded guilty to a charge of conspiracy to facilitate a breach of the UK’s immigration laws.
The men had sourced fake passports and residence permits with the intention of using them to illegally secure employment in the UK. At earlier court hearings, two of the men were jailed for 12 months and one was jailed for six months.
The fraud was first detected when UK Border Agency officers based at Heathrow Airport intercepted a parcel containing fake passports and resident permits addressed to one of the men. Officers visited the property and found other fraudulent documents. The four men were arrested at two addresses in Watford and Harrow.
“One of the men was supplying fake documents to help others stay in the UK illegally and secure work to which they were not entitled. These offenders had only one intention, to take employment opportunities away from genuine jobseekers – clearly, a serious offence,” a UK Border Agency spokesperson said.
Three of the men had overstayed their UK visas. The fourth man had a valid student visa at the time of his arrest, which was subsequently revoked. The UK Border Agency will work to remove them from the UK at the end of their sentences.
The operation involved police officers and UK Border Agency officers working together to investigate organised immigration crime.
Businesses that employ workers who do not have permission to work face fines of up to £10,000 for each illegal worker, unless they can prove that they carried out the correct pre-employment checks.