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Tougher action against sham marriages sees rise in arrest of immigration offences

The number of people deported from Northern Ireland also increases
28th July 2011: The number of people arrested for immigration offences and deported from Northern Ireland has increased, with tougher action against sham marriages and illegal workers.
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In fact, the UK Border Agency has claimed an increase in the number of arrests on the allegations of indulging in sham marriages.

The enforcement operations in Northern Ireland too has registered an increase by a third last year. The rise in the number of arrests was 50 per cent.

The hike was reflected by a 23 per cent increase in operations across the United Kingdom. The amount of fine imposed too increased by two-third from £4.2m to £7m.

Quoting the figures, the Belfast Telegraph said the UK Border Agency Northern Ireland and Scotland with enforcement teams in Belfast, Glasgow and Edinburgh conducted 1,068 enforcement visits in the year ending in April, up from 801 in 2009-10.

The operations included checking on firms suspected of employing illegal workers, to foreign nationals who have overstayed on their visas or entered the country illegally, or in connection with sham marriages.

Immigration Minister Damian Green said: "We have turned up the level of activity and what’s particularly important is that it is increasing the public’s confidence.

"People ask what we are doing, perhaps about a factory that everybody knows is dodgy.

"They are very pleased to see that we are making thousands of enforcement visits."

Green also told the Belfast Telegraph that his department was making efforts to come down heavily on people-smuggling across the border.

The steps include sharing intelligence, data and working to align the visa regimes of two countries.

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