How solicitors told undercover reporter how to cheat the asylum system
‘Find a girl, arrange a marriage’: How solicitors told an undercover reporter how to cheat the asylum system – with one even appearing to offer their daughters as potential spouses
- Muhammad Azfar Ahmad told Mail undercover reporters how to cheat system
- READ: Lawyers charging £10,000 to make fake asylum claims are exposed
Lawyers helping conjure up fake asylum claims are telling migrants to find themselves a wife as a loophole around immigration controls, the Mail investigation uncovered.
Solicitors told an undercover reporter posing as an economic migrant to apply for asylum and then ‘find a girl, arrange a marriage’ to ‘anyone who has permanent residence here’.
One even offered to play matchmaker, mentioning a client who had two daughters that could be prospective spouses.
Getting married would mean ‘the whole route is changed’ and the small boat arrival could apply to stay in the UK as a spouse regardless of his original asylum application, lawyers said. One solicitor advised getting his potential wife to call utility providers and ‘put his name on the bills’ to give the impression the couple lived together.
Asylum seekers are allowed to wed in the UK but getting married for immigration purposes when not in a genuine relationship is illegal and the Home Office receives thousands of reports a year of suspicious nuptials.
Muhammad Azfar Ahmad (pictured in office), a lawyer at Kingswright Solicitors in Birmingham, warned that while he could ‘fight’ for an asylum case, such claims for Indians were ‘very weak’ and suggested another possibility
VP Lingajothy was sacked following the Mail investigation. He asked for £10,000 to invent a horrific backstory to use in the asylum application, including claims of sexual torture, slave labour and imprisonment
According to figures obtained by the Mail, 21,638 reports of dodgy marriages have been received by the Home Office since 2015.
The number of reports peaked in 2019, when 2,648 suspicious marriages were flagged to officials, and more than 1,000 reports have been received from January to May this year alone.
READ MORE: Lawyers charging £10,000 to make fake asylum claims: Special investigation exposes staff at immigration law firms briefing clients on how to LIE to the authorities to win the right to stay in Britain
Our revelations come as part of an investigation into abuses of Britain’s asylum system by immigration solicitors who are making thousands of pounds making fabricated claims to the Home Office.
The Mail covertly visited a string of firms with a reporter posing as an Indian national who had arrived in the UK illegally on a small boat to look for work. Muhammad Azfar Ahmad, a lawyer at Kingswright Solicitors in Birmingham, warned that while he could ‘fight’ for an asylum case, such claims for Indians were ‘very weak’ and suggested another possibility.
‘If he can get married then we can, while asylum claim is pending, we go to the other route,’ Mr Ahmad said. He said if he can offer proof he has lived with a person who has settled status for two years he could apply as ‘unmarried partners’.
He added: ‘On the other hand, once he claimed asylum he will be able to register a marriage in a marriage office.
Once the marriage is registered he can apply any time as a spouse of a British national or whatever the position will be with the British settled person.’
He said it must be either a British citizen or someone with indefinite leave to remain in the UK.
Mr Ahmad (pictured in office) said if he can offer proof he has lived with a person who has settled status for two years he could apply as ‘unmarried partners’
There were 74,751 asylum applications, relating to nearly 90,000 people, in 2022 – more than twice the number of applications in 2019 – with just under half from people who arrived by small boat
During the Mail’s investigation, Rashid Ahmad Khan (pictured) told our covert reporter he can’t help him apply for asylum if he doesn’t say ‘his life is in danger back home’ and told him to lie to the Home Office
Malik Nazar Hayat (pictured) told our reporter the whole process would cost £5,500 in cash, a price he insists is a steal from his usual fees of £12,000 to £15,000 for similar cases
Later he said: ‘Wedding, yes that is better thing. As soon as you find someone who is ready to get married to him, put his name on the bills. Just tell utility provider to add his name. She can call them.’
Mr Ahmad said this was to show that they were living together.
Asked if he knew of a ‘matchmaker’, the lawyer suggested a Punjabi couple in Walsall with two daughters who were his clients and said he could get their number. As the meeting came to an end, Mr Ahmad said: ‘We will make some story. But do something to get him married, that’s better.’
Mr Ahmad said it would cost £2,000 for the asylum claim and more to submit a marriage application to the Home Office.
A solicitor at another firm in south London told an undercover reporter to marry ‘anyone who has permanent residence here’ telling him to ‘find a girl, arrange a marriage. ‘Nothing stops you from doing that. The moment he applies for asylum he can legally get married,’ he added.
Kingswright Solicitors said: ‘We entirely refute the allegations. However, we have commenced an internal investigation concerning the same. It would therefore be inappropriate to comment further at this stage.’
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