05:08PM, Thursday 05 April 2018
A Slough man has been sentenced to three years in prison for his part in a sham marriage scheme designed to get around immigration rules.
Muhammad Saqlain, of Worcester Gardens, was jailed for conspiracy to assist unlawful immigration after being convicted at the Old Bailey on Tuesday, March 27.
He was part of a group of eight people that arranged sham marriages between Pakistani men in the UK, who had no leave to remain or leave which was about to expire, and Lithuanian women aged 18 – 25 who were flown in for the ceremony.
An investigation by Immigration Enforcement’s Criminal and Financial Investigation team led to the group’s ring leaders, 25-year-old Lithuanian woman Jurgita Pavlovskyte and her Pakistani husband, 33-year-old Ayaz Khan, both of Danehurst Gardens, Ilford.
Scrutiny of their finances showed payments that coincided with marriages which would help with residency applications sent to the Home Office.
The marriages were marketed as business deals costing 3,000 euros, and the Lithuanian women would leave shortly after the ceremony.
Saqlain collected them from airports and prepared them for marriage interviews.
Khan was sentenced to six years and Pavlovskyte to five years for conspiracy to assist unlawful immigration and money laundering.
Five others were sentenced for their parts in the scheme.
Assistant director David Fairclough from the Immigration Enforcement CFI team said: "Today's sentences are the culmination of a thorough and detailed investigation by my officers, which involved searching through a large amount of financial evidence.
"This was an organised criminal operation, and not the genuine enterprise Pavlovskyte and Khan made it out to be. They, and the other defendants sentenced today, were motivated by financial gain in return for arranging individuals to cheat their way into the UK.
"We will not allow people to abuse our immigration laws in this way and anyone caught trying to do so will be brought before the courts.”
Anyone with information about suspected immigration abuse can call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 anonymously or visit http://www.crimestoppers-uk.org.
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