A Barnet man has been banned indefinitely from providing immigration advice or services - the most serious sanction which can be recommended by the Immigration Services Commissioner.
Kalpesh Karia, also known as Bobby Karia, of Whizzlaw Associates Limited, Barnet, North London, received this ban following a ruling made by the First-tier Tribunal, General Regulatory Chamber (Immigration Services).
Following an investigation into a serious complaint made to the Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner (OISC) about Mr Karia’s practice, Whizzlaw Associates Limited, OISC registration was cancelled and disciplinary charges against Mr Karia and Whizzlaw Associates Limited laid before the First-tier Tribunal.
At the Tribunal hearing, in November 2019, her Honour Judge Macmillan upheld the Commissioner’s decision to cancel Whizzlaw Associates Limited’s registration and upheld the disciplinary charges.
As well as Mr Karia and Whizzlaw Associates Limited being banned indefinitely from providing immigration advice and/or services (having been registered since 2004) they were also directed to repay the complainant the sum of £4,300 which was held to be an unreasonable fee to charge.
Her Honour Judge Macmillan said, “In making this finding we have considered the following:
• The fact that the advice given to [the complainant] and his parents was negligent;
• The impact Mr Karia’s advice has had on [the complainant’s] parents;
• The fact that this was a deliberate and intentional course of conduct by Mr Karia;
• The fact that this conduct amounts to misleading the Home Office by means of misrepresentation of clients’ true immigration position;
• The fact that Mr Karia was offering advice that was clearly above his permitted level;
• Mr Karia’s deliberate financial exploitation of [the complainant], including asking for £500 payment for a single letter and misrepresenting what the payments were for and future costs;
• The risk Mr Karia would pose to members of public in future, given the seriousness of this conduct, and his apparent willingness to fabricate asylum claims;
• The risk of harm to the reputation of this regulated profession;
• The suggestion that this conduct may have been systematic, given the reference in the recorded meeting by Mr Karia to have dealt with 60 other cases. While truthfulness of this statement is not known, it suggests at least that this was not an isolated incident.
Commenting on the decision, Immigration Services Commissioner John Tuckett said,
“Kalpesh Karia was entrusted to advise vulnerable people who could not handle their immigration cases on their own; He took advantage of their vulnerability and betrayed their trust by his reprehensible conduct. I am delighted with the outcome in this case.”
Notes to the Editor
The OISC is an independent public body, established under the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999, to regulate the provision of immigration advice and services in the UK.
For further information contact Cornelius Alexander, OISC Corporate Communications Business Partner, on 0207 211 1617.