`Heavy penalties for sham marriages’: UK Home Office

Border agency police teams up with immigration staff


18th November 2009: ‘The teams of police officials with the UK Border Agency have now teamed up with immigration staff to investigate and tackle the menace of sham marriages.

The Agency also declared the introduction of heavy penalties for “abuse of the marriage route”; and made clear it was now more difficult than ever for people to abuse the immigration system.

It was added all allegations regarding any type of sham marriage, including marriage for cash, bigamy and marriage to relatives are investigated and appropriate action is taken where evidence can be obtained.

The assertions came soon after a man who tried to sell his sister into a sham marriage was among four people admitted their part in a scam to help Chinese immigrants stay in the United Kingdom illegally.

The arrests were part of a joint operation led by Thames Valley Police officers seconded to the UK Border Agency.

Assistant Director Rob Allen from the UK Border Agency said: ‘We have successfully stopped an organised criminal network, who deliberately sought to undermine the UK’s immigration system. They also sought to make considerable gain for themselves by exploiting other vulnerable people, in Michael Wright’s case, his own sister.

 ‘We will not tolerate immigration abuse and we will punish those who break our immigration laws. If we identify marriages that do not appear to be genuine, we will challenge them and remove any foreign national in the country illegally.

‘The UK Border Agency now has teams of police officers working side by side with immigration staff to investigate exactly this type of offence.’

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