Nicola Smith has been based in New Delhi as South Asia correspondent for The Sunday Times of London since February 2009. She was previously the paper’s European Union correspondent, and was based in Brussels for four years.
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This report, based on an undercover exposé of Punjabi visa agencies by The Sunday Times, sketches one immigration loophole into Europe: so-called “donkey flights” by which Indian migrants obtain a tourist visa for a Schengen-zone country in order to enter the United Kingdom through the back door. Thousands of visa agencies operate in the Punjab region alone, with varying degrees of legality, some having links to criminal smuggling networks across Europe.