An Indian-origin consultant licensed by the British government to work as an immigration adviser for people applying for UK visas has been banned indefinitely for “deception” and “reprehensible conduct”. Alpesh Patel, of London-based Aaryas Careers Ltd, was also directed to repay a total of 172,600 pounds to complainants and 7,460 pounds by way of a penalty to the UK’s Office of the Immigration Service Commissioner (OISC) after he was found to have used false certificates in visa applications. “Alpesh Patel was entrusted to advise vulnerable people who could not handle their immigration cases on their own… they trusted him and he betrayed that trust by his reprehensible conduct,” said Ian Leigh, Deputy Immigration Services Commissioner.
In a ruling in April, the First-tier Tribunal (Immigration Services) had found 60 charges brought by the OISC to be proven against Patel following an oral hearing earlier in the year. Patel had been registered by the OISC to provide immigration advice and services from September 2011 until June 2 last year when his registration was cancelled over suspicious activity. In 2015, Patel operated out of offices in Hayes and Brentford located in west London and made Tier 2 visa applications for at least 16 complainants – many of them Indian students keen on gaining work experience in the UK – using a fake Certificate of Sponsorship.
Patel acted as an immigration adviser and recruitment consultant, introducing the complainants to companies that he claimed could provide them with employment and the necessary Certificate of Sponsorship to allow them to live and work in the country. In each case Patel charged between 3,300 and 13,000 pounds, usually demanding payment in cash, the OISC found. But there was no legitimate recruiting company and no real jobs.
“On each occasion, the complainant’s Tier 2 application was refused by the Home Office, because the purported Certificate of Sponsorship was a fake. Each complainant lost thousands of pounds,” the OISC said in a statement this week. In its decision last month, the Tribunal found Patel’s conduct to be “reprehensible” and held that he had played a major role in this deception. It noted that Patel had “sought, serially, to deceive the Commissioner, and the immigration authorities, and to abuse the material immigration procedures, and has deceived all of those clients whose immigration affairs are the subject of these proceedings and in respect of whom the aforesaid 60 charges have been upheld, and dishonestly deprived each of them of a substantial amount of money”.
Besides the repayment and fines faced by Patel, the tribunal has also directed that Patel/Aaryas Careers Ltd be prohibited from providing immigration advice and/or services indefinitely.