Representatives from UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) & British Deputy High Commission Chandigarh warned potential visa applicants of the risks associated with visa fraud and explained how to visit the UK legally at a visa seminar hosted by the local MP Bhagwant Mann in Sangrur today.
The UK Visas & Immigration seminar: know the visa rules highlighted visa scams that can lead to visa applicants having fraudulent documents submitted on their behalf, often unknowingly. During document checks by UKVI these scams are uncovered and applicants are then not only refused their visa but could face a travel ban to the UK and other countries such as the USA or Canada for up to 10 years.
The British Deputy High Commissioner, David Lelliott said:
India is the UK’s biggest visa operation and while the vast majority of applicants are genuine and comply with the rules, even a small percentage of people breaking the rules leads to a large level of fraud and illegal migration.
These scams are often sophisticated and promise applicants UK visas and jobs whereas in fact they are trying to make money and encourage applicants to break the law. There are so many immigration services and so much information it can be overwhelming for visa applicants. Some genuine visa applicants end up becoming victims of scams whereby false documents are submitted on their behalf with disastrous results.
This seminar aims to encourage applicants to come to UKVI for advice so that they can apply for their visas quickly and easily and make sure they are complying with the rules. We are also seeking to explain the consequences of illegal migration to the UK: Many illegal migrants to the UK find that life there is much more difficult than they imagined. People need to know what to do if they or a friend or relative find themselves in the UK illegally and wish to return home.
Member of Parliament, Sangrur, Bhagwant Mann said:
As the representative of the people of Sangrur, innumerable cases of fraud by so called travel agents and immigration service providers are brought to my notice on a daily basis. The plight of people who are victims of such fraudulent practices is heart wrenching. It is very important that people are educated about the visa application process, various visa routes and other allied information which enables them to reach the UK in a safe and legal manner, saving them and their families from the hardships. I would like to thank the British Deputy High Commission Chandigarh for supporting the idea of a public seminar on the issue and the visa & immigration experts who shared valuable information with the youth of Sangrur. It is a wonderful initiative and should be replicated all over Punjab.
Applying for a UK visa is straightforward. Applicants must simply fill out their form and pay for the visa online before submitting their supporting documents, fingerprints and form at one of India’s 15 visa application centres. For those with queries or questions advice is available in English, Tamil, Hindi and Urdu via our International Enquiry Service.
In 2014, 91% of Indians who applied for the UK visa received it. The average turnaround time was just well below our 15 working day service standard, though applicants should ensure they apply at least 3-4 weeks before they wish to travel, and longer for certain visa types.
While genuine applicants are welcome to the UK in recent years the government has tightened the immigration rules to clamp down on immigration abuse and to protect the border, so that people come to the UK for the right reasons.
The Immigration Act introduced last year has made it more difficult for migrants who break the terms of their visa and to live in the UK illegally. People living in the UK unlawfully are not able to work, rent private housing, obtain a driving licence or claim free healthcare legally – as a result life is very difficult and they can be open to exploitation. Many people living illegally in the UK find it impossible to repay the money they borrowed to fund their travel.
The UK Visas & Immigration team offers the following tips to help visa applicants help protect themselves against fraud:
- be wary of anyone targeting you offering promises of employment in the UK, a speedier UK visa service or a guaranteed visa.
- remember only UK Visas & Immigration entry clearance officers can issue a UK visa where the relevant visa requirements are met.
- fraudulent agents are known to submit falsified documents often without an applicant’s knowledge. Make sure you know what documents your agent is submitting on your behalf. Read the rules and guidance yourself so that you know what documents are required and can collate them together yourself.
- submitting fraudulent documents is damaging not only to your application, but to your future overseas travel plans and it supports organised immigration crime.
the UK has visa application centres are situated in Delhi, Chandigarh, Jalandhar, Mumbai South, Mumbai North, Pune, Ahmadabad, Chennai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Cochin and Kolkata. In addition we offer a premium lounge in Gurgaon and user-pay visa application centres in Jaipur and Goa. For more details on their locations go to VFS Global
- customers requiring advice on their visa can check the website
- to contact the International Enquiry Service click here
For more information please email Natasha Woollcombe