A man and a woman who set up a fictional college as a cover for a people-smuggling ring were jailed for a total of 16 years.
Tai Chuan Low, from Telford, Shropshire, and Joolee Torto, from Croydon, processed fake student visas for people who thought they were applying to study at "Croydon Tutorial College".
They charged 70 Malaysian nationals up to £1,000 to organise their papers, then found work for them in the Shropshire area, charging them for accommodation.
Their wages were paid directly to 37-year-old Low, who was supposed to send it home to Malaysia for them, but who paid off gambling debts.
The operation came to light when police stopped a convoy of minibuses on the A5 near Shrewsbury in April 2004.
Fifty- three Malaysian nationals were detained and a further 17 arrested later.
All but seven were sent back to Malaysia immediately, with the remainder staying in the UK to assist in the trial.
Low, known as Jimmy, of Pool Road, Trench, was convicted of conspiracy to facilitate the illegal immigration of non-EU citizens into the UK and sentenced to nine years.
Torto, (43), was found guilty of conspiracy to facilitate the illegal immigration of non-EU citizens into the UK and sentenced to seven years.