UK Law Makers Want Strict Action Against Bogus Marriages That Abuse Immigration Rules

By @diplomatist10 on
Royal Couple Britain's Prince William And Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge
Britain's Prince William and his wife Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge sit on Centre Court at the Wimbledon Tennis Championships, in London July 6, 2014. Reuters/Sang Tan/Pool

It is often said that arranged marriages are more durable than love marriages. But the UK is facing a big problem from thousands of "arranged marriages," which are nothing but a ruse to settle in the country.

Chair of the Select committee of Commons Home Affairs Keith Vaz and other law makers came out strongly against the sham marriage industry of deceit, urging prosecution proceedings against the offenders. This backdoor into the country through marriage is doing considerable harm to the immigration control laws of the UK.

It is assumed that as many as 10,000 sham marriages take place every year.

These phony weddings are used as an easy way to gain UK residence rights to an entire extended family who otherwise have no right to enter the country. This fraud is apparently harming the immigration system.

The law makers noted that the number of suspect couples being referred to the Home Office has doubled in the last three years to 2,135, and the actual figure can still be higher due to under-reporting.

Onus on Registrars

The Law makers called for proactive steps to check the loopholes in the system to counter the immigration scam. There is also suspicion that a growing number of EU nationals having the right to live in Britain are being used to procure passports for people from outside the continent.

The committee identified certain pitfalls that add to the spurt in bogus weddings. They noted that registrars receive too little information from immigration officials on the actions taken. This makes them obliged to officiate at ceremonies even if they are fraudulent. The law makers wanted embassies to be more vigilant in warning the offending nationalities.

Subverting Immigration Control

John Vine, the chief inspector of Border and Immigration, told the committee that there is "widespread abuse" that poses a huge threat to immigration control.

Clarifying the matter, a spokesman of the Home Office said stringent actions are being taken against offenders under the New Immigration Act. The crackdown will continue on violators who are trying to cheat the system through bogus marriages.

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