Entry into Britain easier for gays

Immigrants face less vigorous tests to gain citizenship through a civil partnership, writes Vijay Dutt.

india Updated: Feb 21, 2006 19:42 IST
Vijay Dutt

It is easier to gain entry into Britain for gays, desiring civil partnership here than for those seeking a heterosexual alliance.

Now, many immigration specialist firms are reportedly willing to help potential immigrants to sign up for gay marriages to gain British citizenship.

The fact is that immigrants face less vigorous tests to gain British citizenship through a civil partnership than a heterosexual alliance, since under laws that got effective from December, gay people have the same rights as married people -- and may secure a full passport within two years in this country.

So far Islamic clerics could get visas for entry into Britain most easily.

The other thing is that while marriages have to be consummated to qualify for entry, there is no such requirement on couples in a civil partnership. It is thus not illegal for two heterosexual friends to form a civil partnership and then to "divorce" after two years once the foreigner has gained British citizenship and then go "straight".

Two weeks ago, according to a media report, register offices in London, Essex and Leeds recorded 27 foreigners out of 217 who had declared their intention to form a civil partnership.

Solicitors have caught on. Undercover reporters visited 12 London solicitor firms asking for advice on securing a British passport for a foreigner through civil partnership.

A male reporter initially claimed, according to the Sunday Times, to be gay, but during five consultations in which solicitors agreed to help made it clear he was heterosexual and wanted a civil partnership for a foreign friend or relative. In the sixth case a "gay" female reporter told the solicitor she had a boyfriend.

One reporter visited a firm which is routinely advertised on Asian radios and is known for its immigration expertise, posing as a gay, who wished to bring his male companion from Bangladesh.

Minutes into the meeting he said he would be honest and told the firm's owner/solicitor he was not gay. The companion he wanted to bring was in fact his cousin.

It was explained to him that the cousin could come as a student but could change his visa on the basis of civil partnership. He would have to however live with the applicant. The solicitor explained that no physical intimacy was required.

Another solicitor agreed to help the entry of the cousin for civil partnership and also said he could get the "divorce" in two years for either to marry a woman.

The Home office said that in every case it would try to find out if the relationship was genuine. But this is easier said than done.

First Published: Feb 21, 2006 19:34 IST