Manchester English language test scammers have sentences increased
Muhammad Bilal and Mehboob Jilani ran colleges where non-EEA nationals could take an English language test as part of making UK visa applications.
Two men who helped more than 1,000 UK visa applicants to fraudulently pass English language tests will be jailed for longer after Solicitor General Michael Ellis QC MP referred their sentences to the Court of Appeal.
Muhammad Bilal, 36, Mehboob Jilani, 33, and 3 other men ran 3 colleges in Manchester where non-EEA nationals could take an English language test to prove their proficiency when making UK visa applications.
In these colleges, candidates would turn up to have their photograph taken for identification purposes, but Bilal and Jilani would have arranged for an English-speaker to take the test for them. On average, candidates were charged £500 to take part in this scheme, and at least 1,134 tests were considered invalid as a result of cheating at these colleges.
Bilal and Jilani were originally sentenced for conspiracy to defraud to 2 and 4 years’ imprisonment respectively at Burnley Crown Court in June 2019 in a case led by Immigration Enforcement Criminal and Financial Investigations. Yesterday, the Court of Appeal increased Bilal’s sentence to 4 years’ imprisonment and Jilani’s to 6 years. They were also disqualified from being company directors for 4 and 5 years respectively.
Commenting on the increase, the Solicitor General yesterday said:
English language requirements help to promote integration, remove cultural barriers and protect public services. Bilal and Jilani helped hundreds of people to flaunt these requirements, justifying more significant custodial sentences.
Anthony Hilton, from Immigration Enforcement Criminal and Financial Investigations, yesterday said:
This ruling recognises the seriousness of the offences and sends a strong deterrent message to those who attempt to commit immigration crimes.
In committing these crimes, Bilal and Jilani were enabling individuals to cheat their way to a qualification – and potentially a visa – to which they were not entitled.
Latest News from
Serco awarded contract to run Gatwick immigration removal centres21/02/2020 11:10:00
Home Office announces new contractor to run Brook House and Tinsley House.
Douglas Ross comment on new points-based immigration system20/02/2020 10:42:00
Now the UK Government has delivered on its promise to get Brexit done, we can take back control of our borders and introduce a points-based immigration system.
Home Secretary announces new UK points-based immigration system19/02/2020 13:10:00
New points-based immigration system will open up the UK to the brightest and the best from around the world.
Inquiry launched into the death of Jermaine Baker12/02/2020 13:20:00
Home Secretary has established an inquiry to ensure all of the relevant evidence can be properly considered.
Windrush Compensation Scheme extended by 2 years07/02/2020 15:25:00
Changes are being made to the Windrush Compensation Scheme to make it more flexible and to keep it open for longer.
More than 3 million applications to the EU Settlement Scheme06/02/2020 15:20:00
The milestone was reached less than a year after the scheme was fully launched to the public, with more than 2.7 million already granted status.
Government launches public consultation on pre-charge bail06/02/2020 11:10:00
New consultation aims to put the needs of victims first and ensure police are supported to investigate crimes.
Transport Secretary hails new horizons for rail travel across Europe05/02/2020 10:12:10
A new direct Eurostar connection between Amsterdam and London will improve journeys for passengers.