A BBC report claims a massive scam ring run by professionals is exploiting Irish papers to allow non-EU relatives to move to the UK
Thousands of non-EU nationals living in the UK are reportedly paying as much as €29,000 for falsified documents claiming they have been residents in Ireland in order to gain admission to mainland Britain, a BBC report has claimed.
Broadcast on BBC Radio 4, the ‘Breaking into Britain’ programme alleges that British nationals hoping to relocate their relatives from outside the EU into the UK have created a multimillion-pound black market for fake Irish documents. Immigration advisors, legal professionals and accountants are reportedly involved in the scheme.
The scam takes advantage of laws that permit residency on the EU’s freedom-of-movement legislation, which would allow the spouse of a British citizen from outside the EU to make his or her way to Britain after working in another EEA country.
The File on 4 programme, which aired on Tuesday night, included interviews from Det Supt Stephen Courage of the Garda National Immigration Bureau, who claimed those behind the illegal scheme were making “staggering” profits.
“The facilitator will quite often set up a company, of which you will either be an owner or director. They will also create a work history for you,” he explained.
“They will create payslips, they will open bank accounts, and also pay nominal tax so when the immigration service receives an application to exercise EU treaty rights, it will look at the paperwork and, on the face of it, it will appear that you have a life in Ireland.”
In the past, the forging of Irish documents has led to a handful of high-profile diplomatic incidents for the Irish government; in 2010, the Israeli secret service Mossad used six Irish national passports, some of which had read numbers, when carrying out an assassination in a Dubai hotel. The incident led to the expulsion of a member of the Israeli embassy from Ireland.
The following year, a Russian diplomat was also ordered to leave the country after a Garda investigation determined that the security agent had gathered Irish passports at the embassy in Rathgar for the purposes of copying them in Russia to be given to US-based spies.
After the Brexit referendum, the number of people applying for Irish passports was 42% higher in 2016 than the year before, according to the Department of Foreign Affairs. The Irish embassy in London was required to hire extra staff to deal with the increase in demand for the EU passport by British nationals of Irish heritage.