London: A singer from Punjab is among 16 Indians arrested in a series of operations by Britain`s immigration officials for offences that include entering into
arrangements with EU nationals to register bogus marriages in order to stay in the UK.
Official sources here said operations were carried out in recent months at various places in Britain, including companies where some of those arrested were working illegally.
Garry Sandhu, 29, described as a "rising Bhangra star", had been sent back to India because he did not have permission to be in the UK.
He first came to the UK under a different identity and claimed asylum, which was refused by the UK Border Agency. He was then placed on immigration bail but absconded.
He came to the attention of the immigration officials several years later when he was caught driving without insurance, a press release said.
Six Indian nationals were arrested for working illegally, and jailed for taking part in bogus marriages. The six men were arrested in enforcement operations in South Wales.
On February 9, the men were found working illegally in shops in Caerphilly. They had committed immigration offences, including overstaying their visas and working in breach of their visa conditions.
All six men have been detained pending their removal from the UK. The shops where they worked illegally now face fines of up to 10,000 pounds for each illegal worker, unless they can prove that they carried out the correct pre-employment checks.
A UK Border Agency spokesperson in South Wales said: "This series of successful raids shows that our officers will track down immigration offenders wherever they are. Any business that takes on a foreign national without permission to work is breaking the law and faces a heavy fine."
On February 1, seven people were given jail terms by Chester Crown Court for trying to cheat the UK`s immigration rules by arranging two sham marriages. Indian nationals, Jasbir Singh, 21 years and Manpreet Singh, 27 years, together
with their Lithuanian "brides" were arrested at Wrexham Register Office before the ceremonies could take place.
Two more Lithuanian nationals and a British national were also arrested. Jasbir Singh and Manpreet Singh, both living in Wolverhampton, received jail sentences of eleven months and one year respectively.
The UK Border Agency will work to remove them from the UK at the end of their jail sentences. On January 12, four members of a sham wedding party were sentenced at Newry Crown Court. Jaspreet Singh, a 24-year-old Indian student living in Dublin, was arrested as he was about to marry a Latvian woman.
Two Indian men who acted as witnesses were also arrested. Another Indian national, Suchinsth Kayasth, was jailed by the Leicester Crown Court for 12 months in December for entering a sham marriage with a British national.
The British national, Meena Tailor, was also jailed for twelve months. They had both pleaded guilty to conspiracy to defraud. A third person involved in organising this sham marriage, Errol Kincarr, a British national, was jailed for nine months for perverting the course of justice.
A spokesperson from the UK Border Agency`s Criminal and Financial Investigation Team said: "Let these sentences be a warning to those who seek to cheat immigration laws. We will not hesitate to take the strongest possible action against
those involved in arranging sham marriages".