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Many Indians in British 'immigration racket'

A BBC undercover investigation has ripped the lid of a huge network in the Southall area, exploiting those who want to come to the UK, especially from the Punjab. Vijay Dutt reports.
By Vijay Dutt | Hindustan Times, London
UPDATED ON JUL 18, 2008 01:34 AM IST

A BBC undercover investigation has ripped the lid of a huge network in the Southall area, exploiting those who want to come to the UK, especially from the Punjab.

A group of people are reportedly providing such illegal immigrants of Indian-origin with forged or stolen identity papers. They lure them with promises to get them jobs here.

The undercover BBC investigation unearthed that hundreds of illegal immigrants from India have been brought in, put in cheap houses, sometime 40 packed in one hall in unhygienic conditions. Since they are here on faked documents, they are forced to take up poorly paid jobs and often asked to do dangerous work.

The BBC report said, “In just one square mile, hundreds of illegal immigrants, scores of multiple-occupancy houses, and people dealing in fake identities, employment and fraud. A criminal network that is out of sight.”

Many community leaders in Southall and Hounslow told HT that they have heard of illegal immigrants being brought into the area and that they work in shops and restaurants, but have no idea how and who brings them.

Virendra Sharma, MP from Southall and who has been a senior councillor there for decades told HT, “We know of this. It bares the fact that border controls introduced by the government are not enough. The authorities have to look into this and stop such illegal activities, and exploitation of innocent people by criminals. “The criminal activities of these people who assist illegal immigrants have to be punished as well.”

The BBC's undercover reporters met and filmed one who called himself 'Vicki', who freely talked about fake documents he could obtain, and boasted about servicing customers in Sheffield, Bradford and Coventry.

He also said that he could get people into the country on lorries, known as donkeys, organised by what he called his “man in Paris”, and how he could provide a fake “original” passport that had been “checked” to beat security at a UK airport.

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