British Airways Manager On The Run In India After $3.8 Million Asylum Scam Exposed

A British Airways manager has reportedly fled to India following allegations that he orchestrated a $3.8 million immigration fraud, leveraging the airline’s check-in systems to facilitate illegal travel and allowing passengers to claim asylum in Canada when they weren’t eligible to fly there in the first place.

The employee, previously stationed at Heathrow Terminal 5, is accused of exploiting a loophole that allowed travelers, primarily from India, to board flights without the necessary visa documents, charging them £25,000 each for this service. This scheme involved first bringing clients to the UK on a temporary visitor visa, then arranging onward travel with falsified documents.

Authorities were alerted to the scam after Canadian officials noticed a pattern of passengers arriving in Toronto or Vancouver on British Airways flights and immediately claiming asylum. The operation, which had been running for five years.

The manager allegedly falsified electronic travel authorization (eTA) verifications, enabling clients to enter countries for which they had no legal entry permission. Upon arrival, these passengers would dispose of their documents and seek asylum, with many using this method to transit through Britain to Canada.

By inputting incorrect data and claiming that eTA documents had been secured, the manager enabled his clients to bypass immigration controls. Following his arrest and subsequent bail, the manager fled to India, believed to be with his partner, who also worked for British Airways. Efforts are now focused on working with Indian authorities to locate and extradite the suspect, who is said to own multiple properties in India.

By the way this is certainly not the only person engaged in a scheme of this sort at Heathrow.

(HT: Paddle Your Own Kanoo)

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. The only real solution is to change asylum laws. People are abusing the system. I would wager thousands that none of those making this trip actually had valid asylum claims.

  2. He should have instead suggested the “Dunki” route which is based on a recent popular Indian movie plot!

  3. Alert, my wife worked with an immigration attorney who arranged for highly specialized Indian physicians to come into the U.S. There simply were no people here doing what the training of these doctors had prepared them to do. I sincerely hope that if you have a medical emergency you don’t need one of these “Third World” people to save your life.

  4. I’m curious to know on what grounds the “asylum” was granted to the folks from India. Other than perhaps sex trafficking, what else could there be?

  5. Why aren’t our bs “asylum” seekers bypassing the horrible, terrible, racist USA and going right to Canada? Maybe we could share our undocumented criminals with Trudeau. I can even see some charter opportunities for New Pacific. We can keep that half-dead 757 on a continuous loop.

  6. The asylum law is outdated and not fit for purpose .it was brought in before mass immigration and when people were more honest.its just abused now

  7. @kimmiea – The most popular claim from India right now is “religious persecution”. As someone who is nominally Christian and from India, I am deluged with ads on social media from dodgy immigration attorneys and consultants offering to help me “claim” on that basis.

    I personally know people from Pakistan and Nigeria who have succesfully made claims in Canada by claiming to be “gay” and consequently “persecuted”. They then filed to bring their wife and children over to join them.

  8. KimmieA,

    The Indian government of the day is showing itself to have awful fascist tendencies, and unfortunately it’s not surprising at all given Modi and Amit Shah’s history. So there are a growing number of Indians who do have a legitimate claim of seeking asylum to avoid the country.

    The India of today increasingly wants to position itself as a Hindu version of Israel while really being closer to a bloated Hindu version of Pakistan. Some of the highest government officials in India even fancy assassinating targets abroad and say things like “Israel has done it, so we should too.”, all while missing the point about the differences. So it shouldn’t be a surprise that the government machinery in India and its thuggish fascist fanboys also takes aim at persecuting people in their own backyard.

    Also, despite various members of India’s Christian communities kissing up to the ruling party, in the last couple of years hundreds of Christian prayer sites have been destroyed in India by supporters of the Modi regime. The government and its fans — and those trying to avoid the wrath of the government — try to sell it as being not driven by religious animosity but being more about ethnic or other identity politics. And yet it really does come down to religious animosity being the main driver in the destructions and in wanting to transform India from a secular republic into a quasi-theological fascist Hindu regime that really has more of a basis in Nazi supremacist philosophy than in classical Hinduism.

    While more and more of the high-income democracies of the world have sort of come to regret having boosted China into become a superpower, these same countries are now repeating the same mistake with an India headed in the wrong direction if you really care about liberal representative democracy and the rule of law.

    The rule of law is also increasingly broken, but guess what happens if you dare to criticize the Supreme Court of India and are in India? Some schmuck can make a criminal case of it and then you can find out how brutal the Indian police and other security forces can be along with the civilian thugs doing the ruling party’s business.

    Are there lots of fraudulent asylum claims from Indians and others who manage to get to higher-income countries? Definitely, and I can run through a whole bunch of them that are encountered by bureaucratic and judicial adjudicators for such matters in the US, Canada and various countries in Europe. Are there legitimate claims too? Yes. Do governments play games to try to deny even some legitimate asylum claims? Yes, but then sometimes governments later get around to playing definitional and “interpretative” games and then provide some cover to some of the mischiefs already approved and performed by government actors.

  9. Sean M,

    In some parts of Pakistan, an openly gay relative abroad can lead to persecution of relatives in Pakistan. Sort of the same when a relative converts religion or marries outside “their own religion”.

    Also, due to cultural and familial pressure, it’s not unusual in historical and even contemporary times for gay people i to be forced to get married and even have kids and then again try to escape to the kind of personal sexual freedom or romantic life they would have preferred for themselves. There is no shortage of middle-aged and older men — even in the “liberal West” — who have gotten married to women and had children only to later come out to seek out homosexual companionship. Some of those men seemed to have cared about the wife/wives and the children even after moving on. People are complicated, and it can be simply unfair to assume that all such “gay asylum seeker with wife and children” claims are fraudulent. Many are, but certainly not all.

  10. @GUWonder – I have not expressed any judgement about the legitimacy of any claims made. Just stated my personal knowledge and experience of the grounds that claims are being made upon.

    I don’t feel persecuted as a religious minority in India, so I don’t really appreciate lawyers or anyone else trying to convince me that I somehow am. Others may have different experiences of course. One size does not fit all.

  11. Sean,

    “Don’t feel persecuted” is what some of continental Europe’s minorities may have felt like too in the 1920s and even well into the 1930s. We know what came around the corner then: ethnic cleansing and genocide of Jewish and Roma peoples as seen in the eye of the fascist state and the supporters of fascism.

    Right now, the primary domestic “enemy” in India is ironically the very Muslim population that stayed in their Indian homelands so as to be part of an Indian republic that would neither be Pakistan nor a Hindu version of Pakistan.


    If you paid attention, a lot of these BA-delivered asylum seekers went to YVR or YYZ, and it was Canada that pushed this as being a BA@LHR issue.

  12. For how long was this 24 year-old South Asian BA employee/supervisor operating this scam scheme? It shouldn’t have taken too many such incidents for BA to have figured out where the systemic exploit was taking place and who was the perpetrator. But BA management types and their favorites are too often less the brightest tools in the tool box than pretentious wannabe show-offs and choose to go along to get along when really they should not do that if they have true integrity.

    It was going on for nearly 5 years? Wow. That speaks to the competence level of the airline management/employees and that BA wasn’t getting fined enough money by foreign governments to shut the scam down sooner. Canada flagged this down. Took them some time too.

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