UK spouse visa shams prompt sentencing

05 Sep 2011 | Posted by Carl Thomas

A number of arrests have followed the organisation of UK spouse visa shams, it has been revealed.

Reports from the UK Border Agency (UKBA) showed that a 27-year-old Hungarian and a 23-year-old Indian have been sentenced to 15 months each in jail.

The pair were arrested at Slough Register Office on May 14th this year as a wedding ceremony was about to take place. The UK immigration officials were made aware that there was a problem when the registrar became suspicious after meeting the couple earlier.

Further investigations revealed that the Indian 'groom' had been in the UK since January 2010 on a valid student visa, which would not run out until early 2012. However, he failed to contact the UKBA when his college had its licence revoked.

It was discovered that he was due to pay £8,000 to UK spouse visa fixers in order to marry the Hungarian 'bride' for immigration purposes, while she was set to receive £1,500.

The sentencing comes as four people have been arrested as part of another investigation into suspected UK spouse visa sham marriages in Newry. A Latvian woman and an Indian man were arrested at Newry Town Hall during a planned wedding ceremony, while an additional two Indian men have been arrested and charged with assisting unlawful immigration.

Carolyne Wallace, senior criminal investigator with the UK immigration authorities, said: “These arrests are the result of intensive investigations into suspected sham marriages across the whole of Northern Ireland by our team of specialist immigration officers.

“They reflect how seriously the UK Border Agency takes abuse of the immigration laws.”