UK spouse visa sham results in 9 arrests

04 Mar 2011 | Posted by Carl Thomas

A total of nine people have been arrested in an international spouse visa sham.

A UK spouse visa sham operation has resulted in nine people being arrested in both the Netherlands and Britain.

The British focus of the UK spouse visa operation was Nottingham. However, UK Border Agency (UKBA) officers and police forces also carried out raids in Birmingham, London, Devon and Kent, in what was the largest operation to date carried out by the UKBA immigration crime team in the East Midlands.

Dutch police officers, meanwhile, raided addresses in Rotterdam and Tilburg.

Sam Bullimore of the UKBA immigration crime team commented: "We have arrested several suspects who we believe are part of an organised crime group and who attempted to breach immigration law and assisted others to do so.

"We are committed to targeting criminal groups who profit from organising sham marriages and anyone trying to benefit illegally from the privileges of life in the UK faces prison and deportation"

Among those arrested was a 34-year-old Nigerian national living in Nottingham who is believed to have organised sham marriages between Nigerian men and Dutch women through ceremonies held at a church in Nottingham in order to acquire spouse visas for the Nigerians.

The operation also targeted the suspected brides and grooms, with four men and two women being arrested in Nottingham, while one female was arrested in London, along with a male in Ramsgate and another man in Rotterdam.

Sham marriages tend to involved non-European nationals marrying people from within the European Economic Area in order to obtain a spouse visa, which in turn allows them the right to work and claim benefits in their new country of residence.