Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner
Mr Benjamin Shahi, of Myddelton Road, London, N8, was sentenced on 9 November 2016 at Westminster Magistrates Court to 16 weeks imprisonment, having pleaded guilty to the charge of providing unregulated immigration advice. He was also ordered to pay 1666.58 costs, 1,000 compensation to the victim and a victim surcharge of 80.
Mr Shahi describes himself on his website as a British-Persian international relations researcher and political columnist; also a member of the UK Political Studies Association. He advertised his services as a professional interpreter and translator in Dari, English, Farsi and French. Mr Shahi met with a person at a caf in Brent Cross who was seeking immigration advice and representation. Mr Shahi went on to provide the grounds of a false asylum application, which was presented to the Home Office in support of the claim.
Sentencing Mr Shahi the magistrate said:
This offence happened over a protracted period of time, you were not qualified and you knew that it was a criminal offence. You suggested a fraudulent asylum claim and took money for that. You also made threats to expose the victim to the Home Office to secure payment from the victim.
Speaking about the decision, the Deputy Immigration Services Commissioner, Dr Ian Leigh, said:
We have clear standards outlining what we expect in terms of the fitness and competence of regulated advisers. Benjamin Shahi chose to operate outside the law.
I am delighted with the outcome of this case, and I hope this sends a clear message to other people considering providing immigration advice - either act within the law or you will find yourself in court.