American immigration authorities have arrested 21 people in a major sting operation to bust student visa scams in the country, reported Telegraph. More than 1,000 foreign nationals were part of the racket, and most of them were from India and China.

In an elaborate plan to catch the perpetrators, the United States Department of Homeland Security had set up a fake institute – University of Northern New Jersey – in 2013. Using this as their cover, they arrested agents and recruiters across the country who conspired with foreign nationals to help them get work visas as well as jobs through a dubious "pay to stay" scheme. The crooks used the fake student visas obtained on enrollment to the university to help their clients stay in the country.

The State Department, FBI, Immigration and Customs, and state-level Education and Transportation offices were also involved in the operation. Undercover agents working on the sting paid the brokers commissions ranging from US$1,200 (Rs 79,882) to $2,000 (Rs 1,33,139) for each “student” they recruited. Reports said the students enrolled in the fake university will have to appear before immigration courts, following which their visas will be revoked.