UK spouse visa scam sees 'couple' jailed

25 Oct 2011 | Posted by Carl Thomas

Two people from Worthing have been jailed for organising a sham marriage in order to obtain a UK spouse visa.

The 28-year-old Lithuanian, Kristyna Salaseviciute, and Vitali Zhytnyk, a 24-year-old Ukrainian, were arrested at the Worthing Register Office in May 2010.

An investigation by UK immigration officials had discovered that the bride had accepted an offer of £3,000 in order to take part in the wedding. She would have received half upon getting marriage and the remainder when Mr Vitali was awarded his UK spouse visa.

In addition to the sham couple themselves, the investigations revealed that the groom's Lithuanian sister Maryna Zhytnyk Kavalyauske had fixed up the marriage to allow her brother to remain in the UK.

All three were charged with conspiracy to facilitate a breach of UK immigration law, but only the supposed bride and groom admitted to the charge, while Kavalyauske only later admitted to an offence of assisting unlawful entry into an EU member state by a non-EU citizen.

She received a six-month suspended sentence and 110 hours of community service, while the other two individuals were given prison sentences of ten months each.

Jayne Hayes, of the UK Border Agency's south east immigration crime team investigation, commented: "This case shows the desperate nature of immigration crime with large sums of money changing hands and people being prepared to enter into a full marriage with someone they barely know simply to cheat the immigration system."

She added that individuals seeking to cheat the country's immigration laws "face being put behind bars".