Apprehensions of international multi-million-pound rip-off rife
30th July 2010: Just over a month after a serving vicar was arrested in the crackdown on sham marriages, he has found guilty of conducting hundreds of sham marriages.
This is not all. It is being apprehended that there could be an international multi-million-pound rip-off to enable thousands of illegal immigrants to stay in the UK.
He allegedly had set up 360 fake weddings in four years. As the matter came up, Lewes Crown Court was told east Europeans were paid £3,000 to marry Africans wanting to settle down in the UK.
As of now, the UK Border Agency is working `very closely’ with registrars and the clergy to identify suspect marriages. Specialist teams of immigration officers and police have also been constituted for probing sham marriages.
Raids on at least a dozen suspicious church weddings across the UK have also led to 23 arrests. As many as 24 people have also been jailed since October 2009.
Gareth Redmond of the UK ¬Border Agency believes at the back of these there is something larger. There is the potential that this is a bigger organised-crime gang.
It is believed African nationals are the ones who continue to fall in the trap of sham marriages.
Any information you want on marriages can be had from the Foreigners in UK website. You can log on to https://www.foreignersinuk.co.uk/guides_2.html
The UKBA has already made it clear tying the knot with illegal migrants to facilitate their illegal entry into the UK can send the `bogus brides’ behind bars for six months, besides deportation.
You are also in for trouble, if you are a ‘third country national’ lending a helping hand in sham marriage.
The authorities concerned have made it clear: “Where a sham marriage involves an European Economic Area national sponsor, the third country national will not gain the right to reside in the UK and will be liable to enforcement action.’
The Agency has also constituted specialist teams of immigration officers and police to investigate and prosecute sham marriage cases.
The Home Office has been asserting all along that sham marriages would be challenged. Any foreign national in the country illegally through such means would be removed.
It said: ‘We will not tolerate immigration abuse and 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.’