Quest for spouse visa sees bride and groom arrested

29 Mar 2011 | Posted by Carl Thomas

A Pakistani man's quest for a spouse visa has resulted in a total of seven arrests in Leeds after a suspected sham marriage ceremony.

UK immigration officials from the UK Border Agency entered Leeds Town Hall earlier this week (March 28th) to discover a 23-year-old Pakistani groom and his 22-year-old Slovak bride-to-be about to take their vows.

Along with five members of the wedding party, who were from Pakistan and Slovakia, the team arrested the couple on suspicion of breaking immigration laws in their bid to get the Pakistani man a spouse visa.

A total of 155 people are thought to have been arrested to sham marriages around the UK since last summer.

Earlier this month, a husband and wife from East London were arrested for their part in the organisation of such marriages.

The ceremonies usually take place between a non-European national and someone from the UK or another country within the European Economic Area, so that the non-national can acquire a spouse visa.

Detective Inspector Karl Amos of the London immigration crime team at the UKBA commented: "Our immigration crime teams are cracking down on sham marriages all over the country, and our main aim is to identify the organisers who profit from and fuel the demand for these weddings.

"It is a criminal offence to be in the UK through deception or to facilitate illegal entry into the UK, and we will fully investigate any allegations that are passed to us."