UK spouse visa scams lead to arrests

08 Feb 2011 | Posted by Carl Thomas

A month long operation by UK immigration officials has resulted in 14 arrests.

Scams involving UK spouse visas have been uncovered by UK immigration officials.

The UK Border Agency (UKBA) made a total of 14 arrests in the North East alone in the month to February 3rd.

A 26-year-old Jordanian man was arrested in Avon Avenue in North Shields last week, along with a 22-year-old British woman, who was taken by officials at an address in Newcastle's city centre.

Along with 12 other people, the pair are suspected of either planning or taking part in a sham marriage.

Paul Figgin, who leads the UKBA immigration time team in the region, said that this action comes at the end of "an intensive investigation into suspected sham marriages across the whole of the North East".

He added: "These arrests are the result of work with various registrars, vicars and registry offices, and reflect how seriously the UKBA takes abuse of the immigration system."

Among those arrested in January were a 22-year-old Czech man and a 24-year-old Nigerian woman.

In addition to the couple suspected of having taken place in a sham marriage, two other Nigerian men were connected in connection with the investigation.

Three fake passports were also seized by the UK immigration officials from the Hampstead Road address in Benwell.

More than 800 arrests have been made across the country in connection with UK spouse visa shams since July last year.

The country's immigration minister Damian Green said in response to the latest numbers that the agency's efforts to crack down on immigration crime have resulted in a "large number of arrests, cash seizures and prosecutions as well as fresh intelligence".