Today, UK Immigration and Security Minister James Brokenshire announced new powers to tackle sham marriages. Under the new rules all marriages involving non-EEA nationals who have limited leave in the UK or who have no immigration status will be subject to referrals by the registrars to the Home Office if suspected to be in a relationship of convenience.
James Brokenshire: UK Immigration Act to root out those abusing Marriage Laws
From 2 March 2015 under part 4 of the Immigration Act 2014 a new referral and investigation scheme will be implemented and introduced across the UK. This means that any marriages and civil partnerships taking place in the UK involving a non-EEA national are allowed to be investigated by the Home Office. This is to ensure the validity of the relationship. The Home Office currently has up to 28 days to investigate a suspected sham marriage, but under the new rules will be able to extend this period to 70 days. Couples who do not satisfy the Home Office’s investigation will not be able to marry on the UK.
Today, James Brokenshire published a written statement:
“The new Immigration Act enables us to take tougher action to crack down on those who try to cheat our immigration system by abusing marriage laws. In 2013-14, we intervened in more than 1,300 sham marriages – more than double that of the previous year. Our reforms have already seen around a 60% rise in arrests in just three months since widening the duty on registrars to inform the Home Office of suspected sham marriages and strengthening our joint working with them. We will not tolerate those who seek to abuse marriage as a means of cheating their way into staying in the UK. The Immigration Act will help us root out this abuse and ensure those involved face the consequences.”
Yesterday, Enfield Borough Council revealed that in the last 5 months they have prevented 12 marriages from going forward due to the lack of credibility of the relationships. Councillor Andrew Stafford, Enfield Council’s cabinet member for finance credited the Council’s close relationship with the Home Office in the success of preventing sham marriages in the UK.
Changes relating to Marriage/Civil Partnership Visitors
According to the Statement of Changes in the Immigration Rules which was published 16 October 2014 the following change is being made to Marriage/Civil Partnership Visitors:
- Individuals who wish to come to the UK to get married or form a civil partnerships must have an entry clearance visa for this purpose. This applies to all applicants regardless of their nationality and is being implemented in order to prevent anyone from entering into a sham marriage or sham civil partnership purposely.
Legal Advice & Successful UK Marriage/Civil Partnership Applications
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