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UK raids target Indian immigration scam Nineteen people arrested

LONDON, Jan 22, (AFP): Nineteen people were arrested in raids Tuesday targeting a suspected immigration scam where people are brought from India to Britain as religious ministers and then disappear. The Home Office, or interior ministry, said the raids were “part of an ongoing criminal investigation into the Khalsa Missionary Society,” a Sikh religious and cultural centre based in Manchester, northwest England.

Officers visited and searched 15 addresses across England in Southall and Hounslow in west London, Slough, Birmingham, Southampton, Luton and Leicester. “The investigation is focused on the sponsoring of Indian nationals to work at the society as ministers of religion, under the Tier 2 and Tier 5 migrant workers system,” the Home Office said. Tier 2 deals with foreign nationals with a job offer that cannot be filled by a settled worker, while Tier 5 has provisions for temporary religious workers. Separate to the criminal investigation, a further nine people encountered during the raids were arrested on suspicion of immigration offences, including overstaying their visas.

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