Office Of The Immigration Services Commissioner
A woman who falsely claimed to be a solicitor and provided immigration advice when not qualified to do so has been given an 18-month suspended sentence at Warwick Crown Court today.
Arshiya Siddiqui, 43, of Wellington Road, Coventry, who was found guilty of two counts of providing unregulated advice and one of fraud, received 8 months imprisonment for each count of providing such advice and 18 months imprisonment for fraud, all concurrent and suspended for 18 months.
Additionally, she was given a 25-day rehabilitation activity requirement and a curfew running between 9pm and 6.30am for two months. No costs or compensation were awarded.
This is the culmination of an investigation by the Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner (OISC) which found that between 15 July 2015 and 4 March 2020, Ms Siddiqui provided unregulated advice to two people, falsely claiming to be a solicitor to one of them, which impacted their ability to study in the UK, and had a negative effect on the residency applications of the other.
His Honour Justice Cooke said: You were willing to and did misrepresent yourself as a solicitor, repeated the misrepresentation and took money under false pretences. You gave some of the most persistent displays of dishonesty on oath that Ive seen in a long time.
I watched the Jury shaking their heads in disbelief and laughing at what you were saying. There is an element of self-delusion, you have a higher opinion of your own abilities than is warranted. You have some insight into your own lack of ability, you know just enough to provide stalling tactics, but not enough to make compelling cases.
You should hang your head in shame for the way you conducted yourself on oath at the trial.
John Tuckett, Immigration Services Commissioner, said: Ms Siddiquis crimes had a serious effect on her victims affecting their claims to long-term residency, ability to study in the UK and costing them thousands of pounds in so-called fees. The severity of the sentence sends its own message as to how seriously such crimes are seen by the Courts.
The OISC will continue to investigate and prosecute those who break the law by providing immigration advice when they are not qualified to do so.
This case highlights the need for people seeking immigration advice to check before handing over any monies, whether their advisor is fully qualified and registered to provide that advice. The OISC website has an Adviser Finder facility where qualified immigration advisors can be identified.
Notes to Editors
The OISC is an independent public body, established under the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999, to regulate the provision of immigration advice and services in the UK.
The legislation regarding qualification and supervision is provided by section 84 Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
Providing immigration advice and services when not qualified or supervised is an offence under section 91 Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
Immigration advisers can be located via our Adviser Finder platform - home.oisc.gov.uk/adviser_finder/finder.aspx
Media queries to the OISC via communications@oisc.