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Many Indians involved in UK ‘fake marriages’

world Updated: Jan 25, 2014 10:00 IST
Prasun Sonwalkar

Indian citizens are among four nationalities who are “most commonly” found by Britain’s immigration officials in bogus or ‘sham’ marriages that are entered into for the sole purpose of skirting immigration laws to obtain residency in the country.

A report by the Independent chief inspector of Borders and Immigration on the issue today says that four non-European Union nationalities most commonly found to be involved in such marriages are Indian, Pakistani, Bangladeshi and Nigerian.

The report defines ‘sham’ marriages thus: “In most sham marriages, a national of a country outside the European Economic Area (EEA) marries an EEA national in the UK. Such marriages, if not detected, provide a way for non-Europeans who do not meet the requirements of the Immigration Rules to remain in the UK as the spouses of European nationals. This is because the spouses of EEA nationals are given the same rights to free movement under European law as EEA nationals and may qualify for permanent residence in the UK after five years”.

John Vine, the chief inspector, said in the report that such ‘sham’ marriages were an “increasing threat” to immigration control. The report quoted a Home Office manager describing the obtaining of residency through ‘sham’ marriages as akin to a “golden ticket”.

The ‘sham’ marriages are often detected when the ‘couple’ seeks registration of the marriage at the Register Office, and staff inform immigration officials of any suspicion about the genuineness of the marriage proposed to be registered.

Many Indian citizens have been arrested at Register Offices across the country.