A convicted Romanian gypsy campaigner, who was jailed for masterminding a £10million benefits fraud racket, has been allowed to stay in Britain following a successful human rights appeal before a senior immigration judge.
After serving her term in prison, she sentenced to more than two years in 2010, she should in line the rules have been automatically deported upon her release, but has appealed against attempts to remover from the UK.
Lavinia Olmazu, 33, and her fellow fraudster, Alin Enachi, directed £2.9million in false UK benefits claims to 172 Romanian gypsies after supplying fake National Insurance numbers to the migrants.
But a judge has allowed her to remain in the UK following an ‘Article 8’, of the Human Rights Act, appeal against the Home Secretary’s removal order.
Her immigration team persuaded appeal judges that because she has a 12-year-old son it would be an attack on their rights to a family life if they were deported from the UK back to Romania.
According to the Daily Telegraph, the Home Office believed it was appropriate for her Romanian-born child to return to Romania with her, as he also has a father living in the country, and lived with his Romanian-speaking mother and her Romanian partner until she was jailed in 2010.
However, when the Home Office attempted to deport her she argued before immigration judges that this would breach her human rights because she has a son, who she claimed was essentially British, having spent much of his life in the UK. She also claimed that her son did not even speak Romanian fluently.
The appeal case is among the first to be considered by senior immigration judges after an attempt by Theresa May to make it more difficult for foreign criminals to stay in Britain after serving their sentence.
May declared war on judges last June when they continually refused to deport foreign criminals on human rights grounds. She said the courts should stop allowing overseas prisoners, law-breakers and illegal immigrants to stay in Britain on the grounds that they have a right to a family life.
She promised a vote in Parliament to ram home to judges ‘what the public believe’ and persuade them ‘to take into account what Parliament has said’.
May added that failure by the judiciary to listen will result in ‘new laws to curb the exploitation of the human rights legislation by foreign criminals’. Fellow MPs of all parties voted unanimously in support of the stricter guidelines.
In the case of Olmazu, the Home Office appealed against the immigration tribunal’s decision to let her stay, but a senior judge ruled her son had a right to continue his education in Britain.
Senior tribunal judge Andrew Jordan said the independent immigration courts still have significant leeway to decide where deportations should take place.
Judge Jordan said in his ruling: ‘There is inevitably room for different judges to reach a different conclusion on proportionality on the same facts.’
In other words, they make it up as they go along!
Olmazu has had the honour of addressing the United Nations, and was employed by two London boroughs as well as homeless charity the Big Issue to help ‘integrate Romanian gipsies into British society’.
She was imprisoned after abusing her position of trust with the authorities and Roma community to organise a huge fraud costing the British taxpayers.
Her gang charged £80 a time to supply hundreds of immigrants from Romania with false National Insurance numbers so they could claim thousands of pounds in benefits they were not entitled to.
Once in possession of a coveted NI number, their ‘clients’ were able to claim state handouts including child benefit, child tax credit, working tax credit, as well as use the NHS and other welfare services.
When Romania, along with Bulgaria joined the EU in 2007, restrictions were put in place on working in the UK. Romanian immigrants officially cannot obtain an NI number, which opens the door to a treasure chest of benefits, unless they can prove they have paid job lined up. In truth, there are more NI numbers in circulation than there are working people and the system has more holes that a Swiss cheese!
Romanians and Bulgarians can study and work on a ‘yellow’ card permit (or set up a business), which can lead to a ‘blue’ residence card after 1 year, effectively giving them full EEA national rights to remain in the UK.
The vast majority of Romanians and other EU migrants are not benefit scroungers and only want to work in the UK. Even Olmazu had three jobs!
Operating from a suburban house in leafy Woodford Green, Essex, the fraudsters provided 368 false NI numbers. Of these, 172 were successfully used to claim benefits resulting in fraud totalling £2.9million.
By the time the scam was reported the cost to taxpayers could have reached £10 million had all of the bent documents been used, police revealed.
Olmazu now works for another charity, the Media Diversity Institute, which has received hundreds of thousands in sponsorship from the Foreign Office and the Department for International Development. The charity is obviously not too concerned about her previous criminal record.
Dominic Raab, the Conservative MP, called for tougher action to counter ‘judicial sabotage’ and wants clearer legislation to force judges to follow the Home Secretary’s will. So much for the independent judiciary.
Raab told the Telegraph: ‘We need a new UK Borders Act that enables the authorities to remove serious criminals, ignore spurious human rights claims and override the current judicial sabotage.’
Emotive appeal cases involving convicted criminals and even rapists bring up the old question of how judges interpret ‘Article 8’ and other human rights appeals. Article 8 guarantees the ‘right to family life’, even for criminals who can escape deportation by arguing that being removed from Britain would be a breach of their rights.
Judges have always interpreted Laws and Acts which of course do not prescribe every single detail, such as what exactly constitutes a breach of a right to a family life.
The tabloid press did not complain when Theresa May blocked the extradition to the US of Gary McKinnon, wanted for hacking into the Pentagon’s computer, on human rights grounds. Although British Muslims did accuse the government of racism after a number of similar cases against suspected Muslim terrorists went the other way.
Ramadhan Foundation Chief executive Mohammed Shafiq accused the Home Secretary of ‘bigotry that exists when it comes to Muslims’.
Not all appeals against deportation or extradition are successful, for instance Abu Hamza. Last week Babar Ahmad and Talha Ahsa were extradited to the US to face terror trials 24 hours after the High Court in London rejected a final appeal.
If you need any immigration advice or are worried about the new immigration rules or need help with Sponsorship or Tier 2, Tier 4, applying for university if your college has closed down, Visa, ILR, Settlement, Citizenship, Dependant Visa or an appeal against a UK Border Agency or British Embassy refusal, or if you have been waiting for a reply from the Home Office for longer than a year, please email:
Majestic College offer special packages for EU students. They also have a number of employers looking for staff right now and are willing to employ Bulgarians and Romanians. UK jobs are available in the care industry.
For more information call Joanna on 0208 207 1020 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org