Visa and work applicants warned over bogus UK immigration officials

by Ray Clancy on January 16, 2015

People looking to immigrate to Britain are being advised to make sure they do not fall prey to bogus advisers, especially those making visa and permit applications on their behalf.

The warning comes after a Moldovian citizen, Tatiana Balan, aged 36 years, living in London pleaded guilty at City of London Magistrates’ Court to eight charges of providing unregulated immigration advice.

UK expat travel

A bogus immigration agent was recently charged and fined £2,000 and ordered to pay £2,430 in costs

The offences related to applicants obtaining work and residents permits who used her firm, Quickbook Taxation, in Hendon. She was fined £2,000 and ordered to pay £2,430 in costs.

The court heard that between January 2011 and September 2013, she submitted over 400 work permit applications to the Home Office mainly for Romanian and Moldovian nationals. This was prior to the change in January 2014 of the immigration rules, allowing Romanian and Bulgarian citizens to exercise their Treaty Rights.

Sentencing her, the Magistrate commented that whilst he accepted she had not profited financially, nor had she prejudiced the lives of the applicants, at the time she was involved in these activities it was against the law.

Speaking about the decision, the Immigration Services Commissioner, Suzanne McCarthy said that people must obey the law. “We have clear standards outlining what we expect in terms of the fitness and competence of regulated advisers,” she explained.

“Balan chose to operate outside the law. I am delighted with the outcome of this case, and I hope it sends a clear message to other people considering providing immigration advice that they either act within the law or will find themselves in court,” she added.

Meanwhile, the latest figures from the Office of National Statistics shows that visits to the UK continue to rise, with overseas numbers up 7% last year to 32.4 million, a record number.

Figures suggest that there have been 13 million holiday visits to the UK over the eleven months to November 2014, surpassing the previous annual holiday visit record of 12.7 million in 2013.

Patricia Yates, director of strategy and communications at VisitBritain, said that inbound tourism continues to be the fastest growing sector of the tourism industry and one of Britain’s most successful export industries, generating jobs and growth across Britain.

VisitBritain has set its 2015 forecast, suggesting there will be 35.1 million visits in 2015 generating visitor spending of £22.2 billion, an increase of 2.5% in volume and 4.5% in value.



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