Lawyers are charging thousands of pounds for illegal immigrants to submit false asylum and human rights claims.
Staff at the solicitor firm readily agreed to help an undercover Mail reporter pursue refugee status by posing as an economic immigrant.
This was despite having no valid reason to be in the UK after arriving on a small boat.
VP Lingajothy wanted £10,000 to invent a gruesome back story to use in asylum applications. These include claims of sexual abuse, beatings, slave labour, false imprisonment and death threats that forced her to commit suicide and flee to the UK.
The legal adviser promised he could get a doctor’s report to back up the story and produced anti-depressants at the Home Office as ‘evidence’ of trauma.
Staff at a solicitor firm readily agreed to help an undercover Mail reporter get refugee status posing as an economic migrant – despite being told he had no valid reason to be in the UK after arriving on a small boat. VP Lingajothy (pictured) wanted £10,000 to invent a gruesome back story to use in an asylum application
Rashid Ahmad Khan (pictured) told our undercover reporter he couldn’t help her apply for asylum unless she said her ‘life at home was in danger’ and told her to lie to the Home Office
A lawyer at another firm said he had to ‘produce evidence’ to show the reporter had a genuine fear of ‘persecution and killing’ if he returned home.
He boasts a success rate of over 90 percent in similar shelters. A third outlined the ‘subtle elements of the asylum case’ he said he would use to show the reporter who feared for his life in India. These may include anti-government political allegiance, having a love affair with someone of the wrong caste or being homosexual.
The two said they would falsely claim the Mail reporter was a ‘victim of human trafficking’ who had been kidnapped, betrayed and abandoned by people smugglers. Many of the law firm’s staff enjoy wealth and prestige, including Mr Lingajothy who with his wife owns a multi-million pound property empire, drives a BMW with personalized number plates and sends his son to Eton.
But when immigrants face jail for making false asylum claims, the lawyers who encourage, facilitate and profit from them face only professional sanctions.
A law firm fired a representative the Mail spoke to and closed one of its offices after we published our findings. It said his actions breached the law and breached the Solicitors Regulation Authority’s code of conduct.
Our investigation also found:
Lawyers said they would help coach clients to make false asylum claims for Home Office interviews; a lawyer who invented a story for our reporter and branded Home Secretary Suella Braverman ‘dumb’; Another firm’s legal representative, who made up a bogus story for our undercover reporter, addressed the UN Human Rights Council and was not recognized as a judge in an interview at the Home Office last year. claim
Asylum Claims Q&A
Who is entitled to claim asylum in the UK?
Those who are unable to live safely in any part of their own country for fear of persecution because of their race, religion, nationality, political opinion, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation or any other social, cultural, religious or political situation that puts them at risk. They must have failed to receive protection from the authorities in their home countries.
Are lawyers allowed to submit an asylum claim that they know is false?
no The Solicitors Regulation Authority says its members must ‘act with honesty and integrity and not ‘mislead or attempt to mislead’ a court, tribunal or regulator.
What are the legal penalties for false asylum applications?
Migrants who provide false information on asylum applications face up to two years in prison or an order to leave the UK. Solicitors face no criminal penalties but those found guilty of misconduct can be disbarred.
The SRA says its members must act ‘honestly and honestly’ and not ‘mislead or attempt to mislead’ courts, tribunals, regulators or others. Those doing dishonest work are being fired.
But our investigation found widespread and brazen abuse of the rules by lawyers and legal representatives at registered solicitor firms.
In most cases they suggested that our journalist, originally from Punjab, should pretend to be a supporter of a Sikh separatist movement banned in India – giving him grounds for asylum.
In two cases solicitors, who charge between £4,000 and £10,000 for their services, invented elaborate bogus stories to back up the claims.
One said he would scour the internet for additional information to bolster the fabricated story, and was happy to send the Home Office a picture of another looking like a reporter at an anti-government protest in India.
In 2022 there were 74,751 asylum applications relating to around 90,000 people – more than double the number of applications in 2019 – just under half of those arriving by small boat. Almost one in four asylum seekers rejected by the Home Office last year appealed.
It is understood that up to 40 solicitor firms are being monitored by authorities amid allegations of ‘misuse’ and ‘carbon copy’ applications of suspicious asylum claims from different people representing the same firm.
Tony Smith, a former head of the UK Border Force, has called for stronger checks on ‘rogue solicitors’ who make up stories for immigration claims. He described it as ‘big business’ and said legal representatives were ‘profiting from other people’s misery’.
He said, ‘Coaching people to lie in order to gain an advantage in the context of an application is very wrong, because we really should be working on the basis of honesty from lawyers.’
Owner Nazar Hayat (pictured) told our reporter the whole process would cost £5,500 in cash, a price he insisted was a steal from his usual fee of £12,000 to £15,000 for similar cases.
Many of the law firm’s staff enjoy wealth and prestige, including Mr Lingajothy (pictured) who owns a multi-million pound property with his wife, drives a BMW with personalized number plates and sent his son to Eton.
‘If we are going to allow lawyers to sit in immigration interviews and represent immigrants in status interviews, we have to be satisfied that they are properly accredited and that accreditation will demand a rigorous assessment of integrity.’
Alp Mehmet of Migration Watch, which campaigns for tighter border controls, added: ‘It’s shocking. It is beyond belief that lawyers would pervert the course of justice by making up stories for bogus asylum seekers and pocketing huge sums of money doing so.
‘It undermines the legal system and disrespects the asylum process. Such lawyers are a disgrace to their profession.’
A spokesman for the SRA said last night: ‘All lawyers should maintain the high professional standards that we and the public expect of them. This is particularly important in areas such as immigration where those involved may be the most vulnerable in society.
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