UKBA claims exposing a bride home delivery racket
9th March 2011: Bride at the doorstep for sham marriage — you may find it hard to believe this, but the UK Border Agency has claimed it has actually exposed a bride home delivery racket where the brides would fly down to the groom’s place, get `married’ and bring him back.
The UKBA has asserted: `Unlike previous sham marriages, the grooms are not in the UK but based in Pakistan. Their brides would fly out to get married and then return, submitting an application for their husbands to come and join them here in the UK. Officers suspect that the gang thought this less direct route would be less conspicuous than attempting to marry here in the UK’.
The assertion came after `an international sham marriage gang spanning Rotherham to Islamabad was morning targeted in a series of coordinated raids resulting in 10 arrests’.
The UKBA said: `Our specialist immigration crime team was behind the arrests and, with assistance from South Yorkshire Police, carried out multiple strikes to addresses in and around Rotherham and Manchester.
`The operation, code named Razorback, is the largest to date carried out by our immigration crime team in the region, and is designed to apprehend the gang leaders and organisers as well as their would-be brides.
`The operation saw officers swoop on the Pakistani, Czech and Slovak gang members in their homes shortly after 07:30. It is believed that women from Eastern Europe were coming to the UK and offering themselves for a price as brides for would-be migrants’.
Giving details of those arrested, the UKBA said they included a Pakistani man aged 25; a Pakistani woman aged 25; a Slovak male aged 19; and seven Czech and Slovak women aged between 21 and 36
All remain in detention for questioning. Enquiries continue.
Detective Sergeant Alisdair Duncan, immigration crime team, UK Border Agency said: ‘We have arrested several suspects who we believe are part of an organised crime group and who have played a pivotal role in attempting to breach immigration law and in assisting others to do so.
‘We believe we have cracked an organised conspiracy in which marriage fixers and European brides were making money from Pakistani grooms desperate to find a way to stay in the UK.
‘Anyone trying to benefit illegally from the privileges of life in the UK faces prison and deportation.’
Jeremy Oppenheim, regional director North East, Yorkshire and the Humber, UK Border Agency welcomed the arrests: ‘We will not tolerate immigration abuse and will punish those who break immigration laws. Our aim isn’t just to prevent illegal migration but also identify and take out those criminals behind these immigration scams.
‘As today’s arrests show, our dedicated Immigration Crime Teams are well adept at keeping in step with ever more sophisticated criminal enterprises.
‘Under our tough rules, anyone trying to play the system can expect to face imprisonment for up to seven years. It is a criminal offence to be in the UK through deception or to facilitate illegal entry into the UK, and we will fully investigate any allegations that are passed to us.’
The UK Border Agency added it conducts robust checks on visa applications to ensure only genuine applications are successful. All its visa officers are trained in forgery detection. Those found using fraudulent documentation or attempting deception will be refused a visa and face a ban of up to ten years from entering the UK.
All visa holders arriving at the UK border are subject to further control by an immigration officer. The officer must be satisfied there has been no change of purpose or change in circumstances since the visa was issued, or that deception or false misrepresentations were not made to obtain the visa. Where the immigration officer is not satisfied the individual will be refused entry to the United Kingdom.