I had the pleasure of working for this company for two weeks back in April of this year.
They have a run down office next to the Mailbox in Birmingham city centre,when I was trying to find the place for the interview I walked passed it twice as their office was the only one without a sign,most companies have a sign to confirm who they are and what they do,this company has nothing,just swinging doors on the second floor.
When I opened these doors there was around twenty agents all busy on the phone,half of them were of Pakistani decent,the other half English.
While waiting to see the manager I noticed the carpet had a thick layer of dust,there were half a dozen broken chairs piled up in the corner of the room,the place looked as though it had not been cleaned for years.
Mohammed Kazi invited me into his office -
He then continued to tell me what a busy business he was running and that if I could sell I could make a lot of money,I could tell straight away that he was a con artist,his patter would have been more suited to someone selling on a market stall,not vital legal advice.
The next day I had a call from the recruitment company informing me that I had got the job,on my first day I met another new recruit who seemed as excited and full of energy as me,this excitement dampened some what when we were still hanging around an hour later because phones and computers had not been organised for us.
Finally someone came to see us and told us that we would not have a phone or a computer for the first few days,we were given folders to study.
These folders broke down how the phone calls were to be conducted.
2,Ask how important it was to them to be living with their partner
3,Confirm that if we could arrange a successful visa could they do it today!
4,Scare the customer into thinking that if they go it alone they will without a doubt have their application rejected.
5,Their motto was if you make the customer cry,they will buy.
We were told on a our second day that customers who were coming from India,Nigeria, or any African country were rubbish customers,they are always poor and have no money, so don’t waste your time on them.
They said you only need to spend time with ”GOLD CUSTOMERS ”,partners of English people who were from Thailand or anywhere within the Asian market,to quote Mohammed ” these old men who have lots of savings are really keen to have their partner join them,you can charge them a big fee and they don’t mind paying for it,if they haven’t got savings they will have a creditcard.
For my first week they were still using their old website UK visa,everybody had commented previous to this day(including the management) that customers were not aware they were dealing with a broker,they assumed that UK visa was the UKBA, so the customers easily handed their money over thinking they were dealing direct with the people making the decisions,because they were telling the customer a visa would be no problem the customer was then pressurised into payment.
One morning we were told that we are no longer going under the name UK visa,we wern’t told anything about complaints,just that they were switching to UK immigration barristers,from this day on, the phones went quiet,we were told to tell the customers that Kings court chambers were now to be quoted on the phone and that a special immigration barrister would be dealing with each individual case,I dug deeper on this and they said in reality, a barrister would not be looking into the case personally, but instead it would be students of law dealing with the cases and that a barrister would oversee the process.
There were rumours that this was all bullshit and that they had their own office, with their own people who were not trained or qualified, dealing with these cases,meaning they could keep 100% of the fee themself.
By the end of my first week,four people were sacked,not for doing a bad job,just because there were no phone calls or leads due to the change in website.
On the second week, we started to listen to phone calls,this was a shocking experience.
The consultants were being listened to by the managers,so every now and again when customers were hesitant,the manager would instruct them to say such things as,I thought you said you loved your partner,is your partner not worth £1500 ? I feel sorry for your partner,she thinks that you love her but you don’t even think she’s worth £1500!
They were not allowed to offer advice, so every advisor would put the customer on hold for up to 5/10 minutes while they pretended to talk with a Barrister / legal expert,this was not the case,the advisor would instead use this time to go for a smoke or pop to the toilet,when they picked the phone up they said..OK Mrs Jones,I have just got off the phone with the barrister and he thinks you have a really good chance of being successful with your visa application,so have your got your credit card number there so we can get the ball rolling,even if there was something in the application that would make the process fail the advisor was told not to care about this,just worry about taking the money,the customer can always ask for a refund later,if ever the customer requested a refund it would be minus the consultation fee of £350,this was not explained clearly to the customer.
As expected the customers would get upset,some would put the phone down,some would take their credit cards out.
As soon as payment was taken,the consultant was told not to worry about that customer anymore.
When charging fee’s,there was no set amount,it would all depend on how rich the customer sounded,in the fact find questions they ask you, do you have any savings,if so, roughly how much ? if you said you had a decent amount of savings they would increase the price by 50%.
By the end of my second week, 8 more people were given the boot including myself, to be honest I was not too upset,I didn’t even get a chance to take one phone call or make a call so my conscience is clear.
It think everybody knew it was a scam but nobody would ever admit it,before they lost their popular website and their licence, the consultants were making £4,000 a month in bonus.
The name of the game was to lie and scare the customer,I am glad people are finally realising how they work,and whatever you do,DO NOT GIVE THEM YOUR MONEY!
I have noticed the new website arrives high on Googles search results so I am guessing they are taking many people to the cleaners.
This is a facebook group started by one of their happy customers -
If you are a UK resident please sign up to the petition to help with UK immigration for married couples – http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/34835
A recent report by the BBC on the 22/10/12 -