Fake marriages more rife than thought - UK MP's

2014-07-25 12:01

(Shutterstock)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

London - Sham marriages to win the right to live in Britain are more prevalent than thought and a major risk to immigration control, a group of lawmakers warned on Friday.

The number of suspect couples referred to the interior ministry each year had more than doubled over the past three years to 2 145, a parliamentary committee said.

It urged for registrars, who officiate marriages, to be given the power to refuse to marry couples they find suspicious.

"There is an industry of deceit in the UK which uses sham marriages to circumvent immigration control," said committee chair Keith Vaz.

"The estimated 10 000 sham marriages appears to be increasing at an alarming rate. One sham marriage can provide UK residence rights to an entire extended family who would otherwise have no right to be here."

Prime Minister David Cameron has vowed to cut immigration to the country ahead of a general election in 2015 in which migration is a touchstone issue.

Abuse of marriage laws

A government estimate of 4 000 to 7 000 fake marriages a year was likely smaller than the true figure, independent chief inspector of borders and immigration John Vine told the committee.

Vine said the problem was "one of the biggest potential threats to immigration control".

Most commonly, people from outside the European Economic Area try to marry residents from within the zone to gain the right to live in Britain for themselves and their extended families.

Nationals from Lithuania, Poland, Portugal and Slovakia were reported to be those most commonly involved. Some Eastern European young women were offered cash and a new start in Britain for taking part.

The lawmakers called for more action such as asking embassies of the most commonly involved nationalities to issue warnings, and through well-publicised prosecutions.

"We are taking ever tougher action...to crack down on those who try to cheat our immigration system by abusing marriage laws," a Home Office spokesperson said.

Read more on:    david cameron  |  britain
NEXT ON NEWS24X

SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
3 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining

Inside News24

 
/Sport
 

The Fast and Furious R40 million

With the Fast and the Furious 7 hitting South African cinema’s this April, all eyes are on the cars and we’re in for a treat!

 
 

Luxury living

This is the most expensive burger in the world!
Exclusive food items that WILL break the bank
Top 10 most expensive homes in the world
You can permanently live on a ship and sail the world!
Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

There is a tendency to discriminate, criticise and over analyse things today which can leave everybody feeling a little bit unsure...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.