Home Affairs Committee Report - 'Sham marriage ‘industry’ increasing at an alarming rate'

Today the Commons Home Affairs Committee published its report on the work of the Immigration Directorates (October-December 2013).

The report found that the sham marriages industry is increasing at an alarming rate, and that they believe that the Home Office does not have a true understanding of the scale of the problem. The report is also concerned as sham marriages can lead to rights of residence not only to one person but to many other family members.

The report made the following recommendations:

  • The Home Office should provide training on how to identify  potential sham marriages;
  • The Home Office should publish the number of interventions, arrests, prosecutions and removals as a result of sham marriages;
  • The Home Office should write to the Embassies of European nationals who are most commonly involved in sham marriages and request that they inform their citizens in the UK that a sham marriage is a criminal offence and can lead to removal from the UK;
  • In certain circumstances if the Registrar is confident the wedding is a sham, then the Registrar should have the power to cancel the wedding;
  • The burden of proof for a couple applying for a residence card based on a proxy marriage should be placed on them to prove the marriage is lawful.

At present these are only recommendations. The Home Office does currently intervene and take action at marriage ceremonies where they believe that the marriage is a sham. The Home Office also interviews many applicants for spouse visas in order to verify whether theirs is a marriage of convenience or not.

We will continue to keep you updated.

Posted in English on Jul 24, 2014.