A man has pleaded guilty to five counts of providing unqualified immigration advice and services, some 13 years after an identical conviction.
Chaudry Mohammad Saghir, 73, of Halifax, was sentenced to 13 months’ imprisonment suspended for two years and an electronically monitored curfew between 7pm and 7am for a period of six months.
The offences took place between April 2008 and December 2016 at Law Chamber Kashmir Foundation in Halifax, which Saghir had set up.
Immigration is the only area of law which is not one of the reserved legal activities but is subject to a standalone regulatory regime that allows non-lawyers to work in it.
But Saghir is not qualified under the regime administered by the Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner (OISC), and the Law Chamber Kashmir Foundation is unregulated.
In September 2016, Saghir accompanied an appellant to a hearing at Bradford Immigration and Asylum Chamber. A member of tribunal staff, knowing that he was unqualified, challenged Saghir, who left the building. The incident was referred to the OISC, which brought the prosecution.
Saghir was previously convicted of 15 counts of providing unqualified immigration services as a result of an OISC prosecution in 2005, for which he received 12 months imprisonment.
Sentencing him this time, His Honour Judge Gordon at Leeds Crown Court said: “These are serious matters, you have been previously convicted of 41 offences on 9 occasions and in November 2005 you were convicted at Bradford Crown Court of 15 offences contrary to section 91 of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999, precisely the same as the offences for which you are being sentenced today.
“You knew what you were doing, it was deliberate conduct”
Deputy Immigration Services Commissioner Dr Ian Leigh said, “This is not a technical or victimless crime, Chaudry Mohammad Saghir was advising vulnerable people who could not handle their immigration cases on their own. They trusted him and he betrayed that trust. I am delighted with the outcome in this case.”