In blatant violation of the Punjab Prevention of Human Smuggling Act 2012, hundreds of immigration consultancy firms in the district are functioning without registration.
With a flurry of fraud complaints against such firms, the Punjab governor on January 4, 2013, had given assent to the Act, following which it became mandatory for all immigration consultants to get registered.
The Act was put in place to check and curb immigration firms’ illegal and fraudulent activities and malpractices of the persons involved in organisational human smuggling in Punjab.
However, two years on, of the about 1,000 immigration consultancy companies in the district, only 13 are registered and another 60 are in queue, even as the SAS Nagar police since 2011 have registered 525 cases pertaining to immigration frauds.
Consultants say the cumbersome and stringent registration policy has kept them from getting registered.
A company needs to fill up a form giving out particulars and an affidavit stating that they have not been convicted before. Also, a fee ranging from of `25,000 to `1 lakh is to be paid depending on the number of years a consultant has been in business.
These particulars are then verified by the police and a report is submitted to the administration which issues registration.
Once registered, the consultancy firms need to share their data of clients, the fee they charge, and get their seminars and advertisements approved from the administration.
According to sources in the district administration, it was found in a survey that about 1,000 unregistered consultants were working in the district. The report of the survey was shared with the police.
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Procedure to get registered
Those in business for over five years need to pay `1 lakh as fee, others `25,000
An affidavit stating the firm has not been convicted and other details including income proof and business background
Details of clients, along with the fee charged from them, every six months
Police verification of all information
Renewal of registration every five years
Administration’s consent for seminars and advertisements
Any proven fraud may result in cancellation, barring of firm’s operations.