UK Border Agency is working closely with registrars across London to clamp down on sham weddings and civil partnership, Deputy Director Paul Wylie, from the UK Border Agency, has said.
“Where there are suspicions that a relationship may not be genuine we will investigate and, if necessary, intervene to stop it happening,” he said.
Mr. Wylie made the warning following the arrest of a 30-year-old Sri Lankan man just moments before he was due to take part in a suspected 'sham' civil partnership ceremony with a man more than twice his age at Ealing register office.
Acting on information that the relationship may not be genuine, UKBA officers attended the Town Hall on New Broadway at around 3pm on Thursday 7th June 2012.
The operation was carried out with the full co-operation of the registrar. Just before the ceremony was due to begin UKBA officers intervened, and the 30-year-old was arrested for being in the country illegally having overstayed his visa.
He had been due to enter into a partnership with a 68-year-old British man, but later admitted the purpose of the ceremony was to allow him to stay in the UK.
The 68-year-old British man was questioned by officers and released, while the Sri Lankan has been detained pending his removal from the UK.
A sham marriage or civil partnership typically occurs when a non-European national marries someone from the European Economic Area as a means of attempting to gain long-term residency and the right to work and claim benefits in the UK.