Are Sham Marriages Really an Issue of Immigration?
A recent interview on BBC’s 5 Live with Mark Rimmer, the Chairman of Local Registration Services in London revealed headline grabbing statistics – 1 in 5 marriages in the UK are considered to be a scam.
According to the BBC investigation the number of arrests is steadily rising. There were 197 arrests in the UK during 2011 and 2012 which is a number that has tripled in the last three years. Rimmer explained that this statistic was just the “tip of the iceberg”, and many more could be abusing immigration law.
David Gray Solicitors are based in the North East of England and we are renowned for our work in UK Visa law, asylum and nationality law, specifically immigration advice in Newcastle. We have specialist teams both in Newcastle and South Shields who are able to advise and represent clients accused of being involved in sham marriages in cases such as an application for a visa has been refused, or you feel threatened to return to your own country and seek asylum.
The Office for National Statistics puts net migration in the UK at 176,00 in December 2012, which has risen from 153,000. It is almost impossible to put an official estimate on the number of illegal immigrants. It is clear though that this is a prevalent issue in today’s Britain and so called ‘sham marriages’ are facing being clamped down on with more and more raids on civil ceremonies.
Changes to the law are being introduced by Immigration Minister, Mark Harper who told the Daily Mail that, “sham marriages have been for too long an easy target for migrants seeking to circumvent our immigration rules, often assisted by organised criminals.” Now in order to be allowed to marry, you must inform the registrar 28 days before the ceremony instead of 15 days so that police have more time to investigate if they consider it to be fake.
Mona Chalabi from the Guardian raises the question, “what fraction of marriages in the UK are made with the aim of facilitating immigration to the country?” She also points out that ‘sham marriages’ are specifically about immigration, according to the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999.
If you find yourself in the situation whereby you are being investigated because of your nationality or that of your partner’s, David Gray Solicitors LLP are your legal voice, and leading Immigration Lawyers UK. Our specialist expertise seeks to work with you as the client and help you through the process.