British Airways planes are seen at the Heathrow Airport in London
British Airways comes under the scanner after Canadian authorities found a BA worker allegedly facilitating an immigration scam worth £3 million from his check-in desk at the Heathrow airport.

Amidst the turmoil regarding illegal immigrants and the Rwanda Bill in the UK, British Airways (BA) has landed in trouble over an immigration scam involving a BA worker who duped Indian passengers.

As per media reports, a British Airways supervisor is on the run in India after he allegedly helped passengers fly to Canada without correct visas in exchange for money. The BA employee in question has taken a fee of £25,000 from Indians for this purpose.

The 24-year-old BA worker was operating this £3 million immigration scam from the check-in desk at Terminal 5 of the Heathrow airport for over five years. In these five years, he helped many Indians without correct visas to get to Canada.

Under the scheme of the BA worker, British Airways passengers from the UK flew to Canada on a temporary visa. Most of his targets were Indians who arrived in the UK on temporary visas and flew to Vancouver or Toronto seeking asylum.

He also exploited asylum seekers from the UK who were running from being deported to their home countries. This comes at a time, when the Rishi Sunak government is reeling under the pressure of clearing asylum seekers' backlog ahead of the election, with many alleging that the UK Home Office is misleading the public.

The man was arrested and is currently on the run in India after Canadian authorities became suspicious of the trend of asylum claimants entering Canada on British Airways flights from London. Further investigation revealed that all asylum seekers were BA flight passengers checked in by the same staff member at Heathrow.

The BA supervisor misled the authorities at the airport by saying that these Indian passengers had electronic travel authorisation (ETA). This comes at a time when the UK Border Force announced that it is trialling facial recognition features at UK airports to reduce immigration issues and make way for a passport-free travelling experience.

Foreign nationals entering Canada need an ETA which can only be processed and approved from their country of origin, in this case, India. Without the help of the BA employee, these illegal immigrants' visa claims would have been rejected instantly at Heathrow Airport.

Ultimately, the UK police arrested the man in question on January 6, but he escaped to India while he was out on bail. He took the help of his partner, a BA ground services staffer, to fly to India.

The Met Police became aware of the 24-year-old's escape plan after they arrested his partner. Now, the UK police are working with the Indian police to track the BA supervisor.

Authorities have told the Sun that the perpetrator took advantage of a loophole in immigration checks as they are no longer done by UK officials but by airline staff.

At present, airlines do immigration checks of passengers, not the UK Border Security Force. The airline staff are entrusted to check the manual visa before validating their boarding pass.

Now these illegal immigrants usually booked Canadian flights without a valid visa and the 24-year-old suspect ensured that their checking was done at his desk at Terminal 5 where he entered into the system that he had seen the visa proof of the passengers.

The same person processed the passengers at the boarding gate to facilitate his scheme.

"By inputting wrong data, and claiming ETA documents had been secured, he got people to countries they had no permission to enter in the first place," said a source to the Sun.

The asylum seekers discarded and shredded their documents on arrival to the destination city in Canada. Many Indians travelled to Britain to pay this man to get to Canada, as per the source.

"It was an ingenious plan which has made him millions over the years. No one knows yet the full extent of what's gone on," the source added.

While British Airways has said that they are "assisting the authorities" in their investigation, the UK Home Office has refused to comment on the matter, calling it "inappropriate" as the investigation is ongoing.

News agencies have contacted Interpol for further information while the airline has revealed that both BA employees are no longer working for them.