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uk student visas: UK student visas: Concerns rise over education scams in India


In recent weeks, there has been a troubling increase in the use of counterfeit marksheets and education certificates to obtain student visas for the United Kingdom. The Sahar police have reported at least six such cases between September 9 and October 1.

According to a TOI report, those apprehended by the police, aged between 22 and 29, hailed from Gujarat, Punjab, and Uttarakhand. Investigations have revealed that they paid agents sums ranging from Rs 1 lakh to Rs 15 lakh to fabricate the documents needed to secure a student visa from the UK Consulate located at Bandra-Kurla Complex.

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The United Kingdom stands as one of the most sought-after destinations for higher education globally. Police suspect that the recent efforts by the UK Consulate to expedite and streamline the visa application process, coupled with the growing number of avenues available to Indian students seeking education in the UK, may be contributing factors to the surge in student visa fraud cases.

The most recent arrest, occurring on October 1, involved Lovemeet Singh (29) who was intercepted by immigration officers at the Mumbai international airport while attempting to board Air India flight AI-131. The officers noticed discrepancies in Singh’s documents: he hailed from Punjab but possessed a BCom certificate from North East Frontier Technical University in Arunachal Pradesh. Upon questioning, Singh admitted to obtaining his student visa through forged documents. He explained that after completing his Class 12 education, he pursued a hotel management course but was unable to finish it due to an accident. As he harbored aspirations of working in the UK and faced difficulties in obtaining a visa, he sought the assistance of an agent named Abhinav Kumar in Jammu, who charged him Rs 15 lakh to arrange the fake educational and other necessary documents for a UK student visa.

On the same day, immigration officers detained Umang Patel (29) from Gujarat, who was preparing to travel to the UK. Patel had secured his student visa using a counterfeit BTech certificate provided by a Surat-based agent named Bhargav Bhai, according to police reports.

In another case on September 30, Gurupratap Singh (22) from Uttarakhand was apprehended with seven fraudulent educational documents, including a bogus BCom certificate. Singh had paid Rs 15 lakh to an agent to obtain these documents. His fake documents indicated that he intended to pursue an MSc in Data Science and Market at Goldsmiths University of London. However, Singh’s deception was uncovered because his certificate indicated a commerce background, while he had secured admission for MSc studies.Sahar police have determined that all six individuals arrested had aspirations of finding employment in the UK. Consequently, all six cases have resulted in charges under the Indian Penal Code sections 420 (cheating), 465 (forgery), 468 (forgery for the purpose of cheating), and 471 (using as genuine a forged document).

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