Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Behind the Doors of the Suspected Bogus College; Educational Institution Allegedy Used as a Front: To Bring Illegal Immigrants intoUnited Kingdom

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Behind the Doors of the Suspected Bogus College; Educational Institution Allegedy Used as a Front: To Bring Illegal Immigrants intoUnited Kingdom

Article excerpt

Byline: ANDY HUGHES

FROM the outside it looks like any other small college - but today, this one is at the centre of an international probe.

As revealed in Tuesday's Chronicle, Castle College in Gateshead was raided for allegedly being used as a front to bring illegal immigrants into Britain.

Four senior staff, believed to be directors of the suspected bogus college, were arrested and questioned following a lengthy probe by the UK Border Agency's Immigration Crime Team.

So just what is going on at Castle College? Well, investigators believe the directors used college funds to bring friends and family into the North East as "overseas students", but they did not attend lectures.

The suspects, all foreign nationals, have since been released on bail on suspicion of using the college to facilitate immigration offences.

But the Border Agency has now suspended the college's licence to enrol overseas pupils and more than 80 students will also be investigated.

Little is know about the college, but it was established in October 2005 in Strathmore Crescent, in the West End of Newcastle.

But in August the college moved across the Tyne to Park Road, just off the Felling bypass.

Explaining its reason for moving, the college website claimed: "By 2010 our reputation and student numbers had significantly increased and we relocated to our current larger premises in Gateshead."

However, during its existence the college has never been visited by Ofsted inspectors as it is privately funded.

What is known is each student pays between pounds 3,500 and pounds 4,000 a year depending on their course, which can be in accounting, administrative studies, business, English, hotel management or travel and tourism.

The website offers help with finding funding and also boasts a host of academic accreditations, including the Accreditation Services for International Colleges, British Computer Society, the Institute of Administrative Management and The Organisation for Tourism and Hospitality Management. …

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