A Reading man has received a community order after being found guilty of 12 counts of providing unregulated immigration advice and service.
Howard Ogbonmwan, 52, of Byfield Road, Reading, ran a company called Visionary Community Ambassadors from Arlington Business Park, Theale, where between 2013 and 2015, he gave immigration advice and services to six individuals when he was not qualified to do so.
Specifically, Mr Ogbonmwan had not passed the relevant training or have the relevant qualifications to give advice or provide services.
At Reading Crown Court, on 21 June 2019, Mr Ogbonmwan was sentenced to 12 months Community Order with a requirement to carry out 40 hours unpaid work.
His Honour Judge Dugdale said, “If someone provides immigration services, simply writing to the Home Office or an immigration tribunal on behalf of someone, or provides advice to someone, in the course of a business, they must be regulated.
“This is a very good thing because those people who come inside our community, who seek immigration advice, support, will all be very vulnerable.
“They need regulated, reliable advice. Putting it bluntly, you just can’t have people operating as a business, giving immigration advice, who don’t have the relevant qualifications. “
Speaking about the decision, Immigration Services Commissioner John Tuckett commented, “This is not a technical or victimless crime, Howard Ogbonmwan was advising vulnerable people who could not handle their immigration cases on their own.
“People trusted him and his organisation known as Visionary Community Ambassadors but he was unqualified to represent them. In reality he did not assist these persons but added to their immigration issues with poor advice, applications and appeals. I am delighted with the outcome in this case.”
The OISC is an independent public body, established under the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999, to regulate the provision of immigration advice and services in the UK.
For further information contact Victoria Bovill-Lamb, Manager, Investigations and Intelligence Team, OISC, on 0207 211 1591.
For further media information contact Cornelius Alexander, Corporate Communications Officer, OISC, on 0207 211 1167.