Cablegate: Fraud Summary - Belfast - March- August 2009
R 301405Z SEP 09
FM AMCONSUL BELFAST
TO SECSTATE WASHDC 1534
NVC PORTSMOUTH 0021
INFO AMCONSUL BELFAST
UNCLAS BELFAST 000079
DEPT FOR CA/FPP, DHS FOR CIS/FDNS
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KFRD CVIS CMGT CPAS ASEC UK
SUBJECT: FRAUD SUMMARY - BELFAST - MARCH- AUGUST 2009
REF: STATE 057623
1. Country Conditions:
As part of the United Kingdom, Northern Ireland is a developed
industrialized country with a well-established infrastructure.
Like the rest of the UK, Northern Ireland is suffering as a
result of the global credit crunch and economic downturn. The
unemployment rate in Northern Ireland is 6.7%, but Northern
Ireland remains below the UK average of 7.9% and lower than the
European Union (8.9%) and Republic of Ireland (12.2%). As the
political situation in Northern Ireland has become more stable,
it has proved an attractive option for economic migrants.
Northern Ireland has seen an influx of Polish, Chinese,
Philippine and Indian nationals, particularly in the medical
professions. As well, there have been a number of migrants from
the new Eastern European accession states. But, as economic
conditions decline globally, Northern Ireland is likely to see
the influx of new arrivals decrease. According to the Home
Office Work Registration Scheme, which documents those from EU
states coming to work in Northern Ireland, the latest figures
would suggest that arrivals to Northern Ireland are declining.
The Northern Ireland authorities are reliable. Corruption is
not a problem and public records are scrupulously maintained.
The problems of identity fraud and related crimes are
increasing. The U.K. Immigration and the Police Service's
Foreign Nationals Unit are reliable and competent and the
Consulate General maintains a good working relationship with
2. NIV Fraud:
Post accepts visa applicants from all over the UK so our
applicant pool is the same as Embassy London. Although post
does not have a very high incidence of NIV fraud, because of our
applicant pool, we share Embassy London's areas of fraud
FPU London has identified certain nationalities as high-fraud
risks. Post routinely subjects applications submitted by
nationals of those countries to a high degree of scrutiny. Post
also pays close attention to Indian H1B applicants working in
the computer industry and carefully reviews L1 applicants who
appear to be sole-traders or to own small businesses without any
obvious succession management structure in place. During 2008,
post returned two H1B petitions one L1 petition to KCC with
As part of the NIV screening process, LES regularly make
telephone calls and conduct internet searches to verify the
existence of businesses and educational institutions and to
verify that supporting documentation submitted is genuine.
ConOff regularly uses Lexis Nexis to confirm the existence of
U.S. addresses, businesses, etc. Passports and UK immigration
stamps are routinely examined for authenticity. Post makes full
use of KCC memos attached to petition cases and of the Text
Search and Petitioner Lookup functions in CCD.
Post has very helpful contacts with DHS/CBP Dublin, the local
British Passport Office's Anti-Fraud Unit, the local UK Border
Agency (UKBA), and the Police Service of Northern Ireland. FPU
London provides assistance as required and allows us access to
anti-fraud tools not available at post.
ConOff recently acquired an ADIS logon so post has embarked on a
series of small validation studies. ConOff is currently
verifying departures from the U.S. using ADIS for a sampling of
Nigerian, Indian, Chinese, Philippine, and Polish applicants who
applied for a visa between January and June 2009. So far,
approximately 70% of those sampled have traveled, and of those
ADIS confirms 100% recorded and timely departures. Post's
overall adjusted refusal rate during the period sampled was
6.4%. The TCN adjusted refusal rate was 14%. ConOff also
intends to conduct a validation study of J1 visa applicants who
indicated that they would travel for the summer 2008 season.
ConOff will report to CA/FPP at greater length when validation
studies are complete.
3. IV Fraud:
Post does not process IV applications.
4. DV Fraud:
Post does not process DV applications.
5. ACS and U.S. PASSPORT Fraud:
Post has taken onboard recommendations in State 00028140 in
relation to anti-fraud strategies for overseas posts. ConOff
routinely does PIERS and MIV checks on renewal applicants as
well as emergency replacement applications. Post also routinely
utilizes the Social Security Administrations matrix to identify
inconsistencies in biographical information.
6. Adoption Fraud:
Post does not process adoption applications.
7. Use of DNA Testing:
For this reporting period Post has no cases involving the use of
8. Asylum and other DHS Benefits fraud:
Post does not process any asylum or DHS applications.
9. Alien smuggling, trafficking, organized crime, terrorist
Recent reports from the Organized Crime Task Force revealed the
dismantling of a Chinese organized crime gang involved in human
trafficking in May 2009. The Police Service of Northern Ireland
led Operation Sleek resulted in a number of properties searched
and arrests made, with six victims of human trafficking rescued.
The consular officer routinely examines all work visa
applications for human trafficking concerns and provides each of
these applicants with the CA issued human trafficking brochure.
10. DS criminal fraud investigations:
Post does not have an RSO or ARSO-I at post. Any cases that
warrant investigation will be referred to RSO Embassy London.
11. Host country passport, identity documents, and civil
The UK Passport Agency began issuing machine-readable passports
in 1988 in line with Civil Aviation standards. Many changes and
security enhancements have followed with the maroon-colored
passport of today. In March 2006, the UK launched the biometric
passport. The passport contains a chip which stores the
passport holder's photo and biographic details printed on page
31 of the passport.
The Northern Ireland General Registrar's Office is reliable and
efficient. Vulnerability and incidence of corruption and
identity theft are relatively low.
12. Cooperation with host government authorities:
Post has good contacts with host government agencies. UK Border
Agency and Police Service of Northern Ireland's Foreign
Nationals Unit are cooperative in offering assistance in
potential fraud cases.
13. Areas of particular concern:
Post has no areas of particular concern to report for this
14. Staffing and Training:
Post's Consular Officer, Michael Troje, is responsible for Fraud
Prevention Management. LES ACS Assistant Deborah Steele attended
PC-542 at FSI in 2006. During the reporting period, LES
Catherine Redmond attended PC-542 and both post's ACS Assistant
and one NIV Assistant traveled to Embassy London for training
which included a session with FPU. FPU London staff
periodically visit post to provide fraud prevention training.
Their last visit was in January 2009.