A COLLEGE in Leeds has been raided and ten members of staff arrested on suspicion of immigration offences.
Officers from the UK Border Agency’s Criminal and Financial Investigation Team made four arrests at Leeds Professional College, Nelson House, George Mann Road, shortly after 9am today.
Six further arrests were made at separate residential addresses in South and West Yorkshire.
Those arrested include eight Pakistani men and a British man and woman.
All have been taken to police stations at various locations across West and South Yorkshire and Scotland for questioning.
Adrian Watkins, of the UK Border Agency’s criminal and financial investigation team, said the college is suspected of charging students - mainly from Pakistan - thousands of pounds for admission into the UK on student visas. Students then fail to turn up to classes and many work illegally or disappear into the system, he said.
Mr Watkins added: “The UK Border Agency criminal and financial investigation team have been carrying out a six-month investigation into Leeds Professional College which has culminated today in the arrest of a number of individuals today from the college.
“Today there should have been 138 students in class when we attended the premises. There were, in fact, just two students and they weren’t actually studying. The majority are from Pakistan, at the moment registered with the college are approximately 350 students.
“We’re appealing for anyone who currently attend the college or any students who had previously attended the college to come forward, likewise any ex-teachers from the college, and any information they provide will be treated with confidentiality.”
He said the “long-term plan” is that students who have not attended the college will be rounded up by enforcement teams and “dealt with accordingly”.
In its prospectus, Leeds Professional College advertises courses in business and management, health and social care and English for international students.
It says students must attend a minimum of 80% of classes and those who do not will be reported to the UK Border Agency.