THE Y-AXIS BLOG

Get the latest and most useful updates on overseas careers, immigration, travel and visas here.

No more easy entry to UK via sham marriages

Posted on December 9, 2014
Comment (0)
Share :
blank
blank
blank
blank
blank
blank

The United Kingdom has amended its laws to crack down on sham marriages. Registrars will now have to refer to the home office all proposed marriages, which involve non-European Economic Area (non-EEA) nationals such as Indian citizens, who have limited or no immigration status in the UK. An extended period of time will also be available to the authorities to investigate the genuineness of a proposed marriage.

The tightened norms spell bad news for unscrupulous Indian citizens who hoped to resort to this shortcut to stay on in the UK. Many rackets of sham marriages involving Indians have been busted in the past.

A UK’s home office report said sham marriages are typically entered into when a migrant’s visa is about to expire and it is unlikely that the person will be able extend it, or if a person has overstayed his visa. But on the basis of their marriage to a UK citizen or even an EEA national, such persons can continue to stay in the UK.

As the requirements for non-EEA nationals seeking to remain in the UK to work or study have become tougher in recent years, sham marriages proved to be an attractive quick-fix solution.

The marriage notice period for all (including British citizens) has been increased from 15 days to 28 days. Where one of the couple to the marriage is a non-EEA national, the marriage registrar will have to forward the information to the home office. If a sham marriage is suspected, the notice period in these referred cases will be extended to 70 days to enable investigation and action.

blank

Couples who fail to comply with an investigation under a 70-day notice period will not be able to marry on the basis of that notice. A written ministerial statement announcing these changes was laid in UK’s House of Commons in November last week. These provisions will apply from March 2, next year.

Currently, Sections 24 and 24A of UK’s Immigration and Asylum Act, 1999, require marriage registration officials to report suspected sham marriages to the home office. Now, all cases of marriage involving a non-EEA national will have to be reported. The main draw back of the existing provisions was that the home office got this information very late, in many cases just prior to the marriage ceremony, leaving very little time to take action.

Indians were one of the most referred nationals for suspected sham marriages, constituting around 10% of the total referrals made to the home office in 2012.

“The revised provisions will result in couples facing scrutiny before their marriage. A considerable difference in the age between the parties or the difference of language between the parties could well be a reason to doubt whether the relationship is actually genuine. In order to prove a genuine relationship, evidence may be required in form of emails, letters, joint bank accounts, photographs, etc. and an intention to live together in the UK by a confirmation of commitment from both the parties,” explains Sarosh Zaiwalla, senior partner, Zaiwalla & Co, a UK-based firm of solicitors.

A home office report released last year points out to a well designed scam where Portuguese women came to the UK to marry Indian men at the Blackburn register office. The brides made initial trips to the UK to give notice of marriage at a register office, which was often different from the register office where they intended to hold the ceremony. They also attended appointments at banks in the UK and elsewhere, to generate documentation to support the illusion that they were based in the UK. These documents were then used to support an immigration application to the home office by their Indian spouse. The Indian nationals each paid around £6,000 (nearly Rs 6 lakh) to a facilitator in the UK, who in turn worked with another agency in Portugal to recruit the brides. Even Indian students have attempted to enter into such sham marriages.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/No-more-easy-entry-to-UK-via-sham-marriages/articleshow/45399825.cms

Share :
blank
blank
blank
blank
blank
blank
Y-Axis
Y-Axis

More Posts

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

one × 2 =

FEEDSPOT ACCREDITATION

blank

Archives

LET'S STAY IN TOUCH
Follow Us

We want to hear from you!