`Bogus brides’ in for trouble

A Dutch Bogus bride gets 6 months. The number falls from 3,500 to 400 in four years

28 December 2009: Women taking part in bogus marriages are in for trouble. Tying the knot with illegal migrants to facilitate their illegal entry into the UK can send the `bogus brides’ behind bars for six months, besides deportation.

In fact, the UK Border Agency has made it clear that their Immigration Crime Teams across the West Midlands were cracking down hard on this type of abuse of immigration system; and they expected foreign nationals to play by the rules or face swift action.

Already, the measures adopted by the UK Border Agency have seen the number of suspected sham marriages falling from over 3,500 in 2004 to under 400 in 2008.

The assertion came after a Dutch woman, who tried to take part in a bogus marriage with an illegal immigrant, was jailed for six months at Coventry Crown Court.
Eunice Ridderstap pleaded guilty on 16 December to facilitating a breach of immigration law by entering into a sham marriage with a non-EU citizen. If completed, this marriage would have enabled the non-EU citizen to remain in the UK by deception.

Acting on intelligence, UK Border Agency officers swooped on the Parish Church of St Albans in Stoke Heath, Coventry on 18 July just before Ridderstap was due to marry Vincent Akingbo, a Nigerian national.

Akingbo had entered the UK illegally and was arrested along with his ‘bride’. He was removed back to Nigeria in September.

Gail Adams, UK Border Agency Regional Director, said: ‘This was a serious attempt to facilitate illegal entry into the UK…. This case sends out a clear message that we will not hesitate to prosecute and deport those involved in sham marriages.

‘Identity cards for foreign nationals will prevent this sort of abuse in the future by locking individuals down to one identity through their facial image and fingerprints.’

Identity cards for foreign nationals are being introduced which will further prevent immigration abuse. Individuals will be locked down to one identity through their facial image and fingerprints.

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