British men are allegedly being offered up to £10,000 to pose as fake fathers for migrant women so their children can get UK citizenship, an investigation has found.
The ‘fake father’ scam sees men receive large sums of money in return for adding their names to a child’s birth certificate as a way to give them UK citizenship and the mother residency.
A BBC Newsnight investigation claimed that scammers are predominantly using Facebook to drum up business, promoting their scam by saying they have helped thousands of women this way.
Meta said it does not allow the solicitation of adoptions or birth certificate fraud on Facebook and it would remove content that violates its policies.
Meanwhile, the Home Office said immigration fraud using false birth certificates is a ‘serious offence’ which they had measures in place to detect and prevent.
The investigation saw an undercover researcher introduced to ‘Andrew’, who said he would receive £8,000 for posing as a ‘fake father’
They also met an agent who called himself ‘Thai’, who offered the undercover researcher the ‘full package’ for £11,000
During their investigation, a Newsnight researcher went undercover and posed as a pregnant woman who was living in the UK illegally.
She spoke to an agent – who went by the name of Thai – who told her he knew of multiple British men that were willing to pretend to father her unborn child as part of a ‘full package’ costing £11,000.
He assured her the process was ‘very easy’ and he would ‘do everything’ to get her unborn child a British passport.
She was then introduced to a British man, who went by the name of Andrew, who told her he would receive an £8,000 cut of the money for adding his name to the child’s birth certificate.
Newsnight uncovered posts in Vietnamese Facebook groups for those searching for work, including one that said: ‘I’m four months pregnant. I desperately need a citizenship daddy aged between 25-45.’
Another agent said she would guarantee the undercover researcher a British passport.
She said: ‘I know how to handle everything. You won’t have to worry about not having a passport. It will definitely be granted.’
A parent can apply for a family visa if their child is living in the UK and already a British citizen under Home Office rules.
During their investigation, a Newsnight researcher (circled) went undercover and posed as a pregnant woman who was living in the UK illegally
They must have sole or shared parental responsibility, and the child’s other parent must be a British citizen.
Official figures show that last year, 4,860 family visas were granted to ‘other dependants’.
The Home Office does not publish data on visas granted for non-UK parents.
A Home Office spokesperson said: ‘Immigration fraud using false birth certificates is a serious offence which is why we have measures in place to prevent and detect it.
‘Caseworkers receive fraud awareness training, and a range of checks are conducted during the processing of both immigration and passport applications.
‘Where we need to establish who the natural father of a child is, the law states that a birth certificate alone may not be sufficient evidence of proof of paternity, and additional evidence may be requested to enable our checks to be satisfactorily completed.’
Meta, the parent company of Facebook, said: ‘We don’t allow the solicitation of adoptions or birth certificate fraud on Facebook, and we’ll continue to remove content that violates our policies.
‘While we’ve not been given the opportunity to review the examples raised in this investigation, we’ll investigate these as soon as the BBC shares the details with us and take action in line with our policies.’
Source: | This article originally belongs to Dailymail.co.uk