Urges them to get in touch with UKBA, if they suspect bogus wedding 26th October 2010: The UK Border Agency has now turned to vicars and registrars to help them in detecting sham marriages. It has urged them to get in touch with the UKBA authorities, if they have any suspicions whether a relationship is genuine.
The call came after a wedding party, including the bride and groom, were arrested at Sheffield Town Hall by UKBA officers, in what is believed to have been an attempted sham marriage.
Jeremy Oppenheim, regional director, North East, Yorkshire and the Humber, UK Border Agency, said: ‘We will not tolerate immigration abuse and once again our immigration crime teams have shown that they will crack down on those attempting sham marriages. Our aim now is to identify the organisers who would seek to profit from this kind of illegal activity, and destroy their criminal business.
‘The UK Border Agency is working closely with registrars to identify marriages that may not be genuine. We do not expect vicars or registrars to be experts in immigration law or spotting forged documents – that’s our job. But if they have any suspicions about whether a relationship is genuine, we would urge them to get in touch with us.’
The UKBA added: `The operation led by our specialist immigration crime team with support from South Yorkshire Police interrupted the wedding ceremony at Sheffield Register Office, Town Hall, Pinstone Street, as it was about to start at 10:30 this morning.
`The 36-year-old, Afghan groom, a failed asylum seeker, and his 21-year-old Slovak bride were arrested moments before they attempted to get married. Both were taken to a police station for further questioning, along with two other guests, who were also detained pending further questioning.
`The arrests followed earlier action to tackle suspected sham marriages in Sheffield with 15 people already arrested and charged following other suspected sham weddings this summer.
`These intelligence led operations are part of on-going nationwide action by the UK Border Agency to tackle illegal working, sham marriages, bogus colleges and organised immigration crime’.