UK spouse visas are available to genuine couples and families with the means to support themselves. However, some individuals forge marriages in an attempt to get their hands on a spouse visa and set up life in the UK even if they don't have the right to this migration route.
Meanwhile, those already resident in Britain are tempted to assist, often for financial benefit. One such individual is a 26-year-old woman from Leicester who married an Indian man in Northern Ireland who she had met just twice.
The individual, Ayesha Mullan, has now been issued with a 15-month jail sentence at Downpatrick Crown Court for her part in the attempted sham marriage. She pleaded guilty to conspiracy to assist unlawful immigration and bigamy.
Salauddin Daudbhai Bhadki, the Indian would-be groom, also received a 15-month jail sentence when he face trial last year at the same court and pleaded guilty to UK immigration offences. He has since been deported from the country after serving his term in jail.
Andrea Anderson, from the UK Border Agency, commented on the case: “This woman thought she could abuse the immigration rules and evade justice by arranging a sham marriage at a location where she was not known.
“As this case shows, Northern Ireland is not a soft touch for this type of crime and we will prosecute those fraudsters who facilitate illegal immigration as well as those who have no right to be in the UK.”
The sentencing is the result of a long investigation effort on the part of immigration officers. The wedding itself took place on October 5th 2011 and has seen the lives of both offenders closely scrutinised.
It was discovered that Ms Mullan had admitted marrying other men in sham marriages in both the UK and India. She also admitted that she had been married to a British man since 2010.