UKBA giving Church of England vicars, diocesan officials, registrars informal advice
30th March 2011: Sham marriages will soon not escape the vigilant eyes of the vicars and registrars across Yorkshire.
For they are being given informal training on how to spot fake weddings for assisting the authorities concerned to combat organised crime.
The fact came to light after the authorities managed to put a stop to a bogus ceremony at a popular wedding venues.
In fact, approximately a dozen officers raided Leeds Town Hall and arrested a Slovak bride and Pakistani groom just as they were due to exchange vows.
It raiding party, including the UK Border Agency (UKBA) staff, were acting on a tip-off from Leeds register office staff. They had called in the officials as they thought the couple had hardly met before their wedding.
The UKBA’s regional director for Yorkshire Jeremy Oppenheim said it was imparting Church of England vicars, diocesan officials and registrars informal advice on detecting a fake marriage.
Oppenheim said they would expect registrars to take a serious look at the nature of the relationship between the couple.
The UKBA has already urged the vicars and the registrars to help them in detecting sham marriages by getting in touch with the authorities, if they have any suspicions whether a relationship is genuine.
Only recently, Oppenheim 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.’