Not only immigration companies, even International English Language Testing System (IELTS) coaching institutes and ticket agents need mandatory registration under the Punjab Prevention of Human Smuggling Act 2012.
Educational institutions, employers, professional registration bodies and government immigration agencies abroad require proof of English language skills as part of their recruitment or admission procedures.
As a result, one wishing to move abroad needs to clear the IELTS exam, conducted by the British Council or the International Development Programme (IDP).
Huge number of citizens from the region planning to move abroad for immigration or higher education over the past decade led to mushrooming of such institutes, further leading to complaints from students about the institutes overcharging them, not completing the course, etc. Besides several cases of fraud where ticket agents (persons helping book and buy tickets) purchased tickets using stolen credit cards came to the fore.
As a result, the government in 2014 made an amendment in the Act bringing these coaching institutes and ticket agents under its purview.
However, several months on, not a single such business has been registered in SAS Nagar district.
“There have been cases of people being duped by both ticket agents as well as those running IELTS institutes. The latter give consultations for options abroad with which they sell this course. However many a time, dealing with these institutes results in fraud,” shared superintendent of police (SP) (city) Ashish Kapoor.
Registration fee for IELTS institues and ticketing agents
Under the said Act, both IELTS coaching institutes and ticket agents running business for over five years need to pay a fee of Rs 1 lakh to get the registration, which will be valid for five years. Those with business less than five years need to pay Rs 25,000 as fee.
The ticket agents need to submit monthly details of tickets sold by them either domestic or international to the deputy commissioner concerned. Besides, both these agents and those running IELTS institutes need to maintain data of their clients, along with the fee being charged from them.
These business owners like the immigration consultants are required to submit an affidavit disclosing all details including their background to bank and income tax details. The same will then be verified by the police, following which the DC office will provide registration.