Spanish authorities announced the arrest of a total of nine people for aiding and abetting the fraudulent acquisition of Schengen visas for Nepalese nationals in raids in Madrid and Las Palmas.
Officials have revealed that the members of the criminal network arrested helped more than 300 Nepalese nationals obtain fake Schengen visas and irregularly enter Spain and the Schengen Area, according to SchengenVisaInfo. com reports.
It was revealed that the criminal network helped migrants obtain visas in exchange for €15,000, most of them accessing the Schengen Area from India.
The cells, which were dismantled after paying €15,000, fraudulently made it easier for migrants to obtain visas from India that gave them access to the Schengen area, with Spain being the final destination for many of them.
The police operation, in collaboration with Europol, follows a successful crackdown on a human trafficking network centered in India in 2022. A subsequent investigation led authorities to discover a Madrid-based crime cell that was connected to a larger international network with branches in multiple countries including India, Nepal, Lithuania and Poland.
Spanish authorities say the trafficking route began in Nepal, the migrants’ country of origin. From there, the criminal network manipulated the system and submitted fake documents to India, where Nepal’s embassies and consulates in Schengen countries are located.
False offers of work and study abroad from companies in Nepal and Europe were the basis for obtaining long-term visas that allowed stays in the Schengen area for more than 90 days.
Once the visas were obtained, the migrants entered the Schengen area via Poland and Malta before reaching their final destination in Spain. Once they arrived in Spain, the criminal network offered them jobs at an Indian restaurant. This means they were in Spain with irregularly obtained documents.
In addition to the above, police found that this network also helped Nepalese immigrants pass the Spanish citizenship exam.
Investigators were able to confirm the existence of a fragment of a network dedicated to facilitating Spanish citizenship exams for Nepalese immigrants in exchange for consideration amounting to 5,000 euros.
Certain parts of the criminal network provided test questions and falsified test answers to help migrants obtain the documents needed to obtain Spanish citizenship.
The operation ended with the raids of two houses in Madrid, resulting in the seizure of €7,955 in cash, various electronic devices, computers and other related documents.