A trustee of a Sikh charity has been permanently disqualified after using his charity to commit immigration fraud, the Charity Commission has said.
The trustee, who was not named by the commission but is understood to be Ravinder Singh, 57, from Manchester, was the only active trustee of the Khalsa Missionary Society.
A report from the commission, published today, says the charity sponsored visa applications for Sikh "ministers of religion" to come to the UK and work at the charity for a set period of time.
It says the commission was notified by the Home Office Immigration and Enforcement Criminal Investigations Team in August 2013 that it had begun a criminal investigation of the charity for suspected immigration fraud.
The Home Office told the commission that the charity was allowing Indian nationals to enter the UK illegally, for which the participants were paying the charity and were receiving wages in return as "ministers of religion".
The Charity Commission opened a statutory inquiry into the charity on 16 September 2014 after the Home Office had completed its criminal investigation and submitted the case to the Crown Prosecution Service.
Singh pleaded guilty on 25 April 2016 to three counts of assisting unlawful immigration between 2011 and 2013, and was jailed for 27 months by Manchester Crown Court on 16 May 2016.
The commission’s report says the charity had been used for non-charitable purposes since 2011 and had been mismanaged, with Singh failing to provide sufficient records to explain the charity’s transactions.
As a result, on 7 January 2016 the commission used its powers to permanently remove the trustee, and the charity was removed from the register on 23 February 2016.