Visa scammers are ‘offering British men £10,000 to pose as parents of immigrant women so their children can gain UK citizenship’
- ‘Fake father’ scam sees men receive money in exchange for adding their name to a child’s birth certificate
British men are allegedly offered up to £10,000 to pose as fake fathers of immigrant women so their children can gain UK citizenship, an investigation has found.
The ‘fake father’ scam sees men receiving large sums of money in exchange for adding their names to a child’s birth certificate as a way of granting UK citizenship and residency to the mother.
Goal It said it doesn’t allow adoption solicitations or birth certificate fraud on Facebook and would remove content that violates its policies.
Meanwhile, the Home Office said immigration fraud using false birth certificates is a “serious crime” that they had measures in place to detect and prevent.
The investigation saw an undercover investigator introduced to ‘Andrew’ (pictured), who said he would receive £8,000 for posing as a ‘fake father’
They also met an agent calling himself ‘Thai’ (pictured), who offered the undercover investigator the ‘full package’ for £11,000.
During their investigation, a Newsnight investigator went undercover and posed as a pregnant woman living in the UK illegally.
He spoke to an agent, calling himself Thai, who told him he knew a number of British men who were willing to pretend to be fathers to their unborn child as part of a “complete package” costing £11,000.
He assured her that the process was “very easy” and that he would “do everything possible” to obtain a British passport for their unborn child.
She was then introduced to a British man, calling himself Andrew, who told her she would receive a share of the £8,000 money for adding her name to the child’s birth certificate.
Newsnight discovered posts in Vietnamese Facebook groups for job seekers, including one that read: ‘I’m 4 months pregnant. I desperately need a citizen dad between the ages of 25-45.’
Another agent said he would guarantee the undercover investigator a British passport.
She said: ‘I know how to handle everything. You will not have to worry about not having a passport. It will definitely be granted.
A parent can apply for a family visa if their child lives in the UK and is already a British citizen, according to Home Office rules.
During their investigation, a Newsnight investigator (circled) posed as a pregnant woman living in the UK illegally.
They must have sole or joint parental responsibility, and the child’s other parent must be a British citizen.
Official figures show that 4,860 family visas were granted to ‘other dependents’ last year.
The Home Office does not publish data on visas granted to non-UK parents.
A Home Office spokesman said: “Immigration fraud using false birth certificates is a serious crime, so we have measures in place to prevent and detect it.”
‘Case workers receive fraud awareness training and a number of checks are carried out during the processing of immigration and passport applications.
“When we need to establish who is the natural father of a child, the law provides that a birth certificate alone may not be sufficient proof of paternity, and additional evidence may be requested to allow our checks to be completed satisfactorily.”
Meta, Facebook’s parent company, said: “We don’t allow adoption solicitations or birth certificate fraud on Facebook, and we will continue to remove content that violates our policies.”
“While we have not been given the opportunity to review the examples raised in this investigation, we will investigate them as soon as the BBC share the details with us and we will take action in accordance with our policies.”