News Archive - January 2012

UK spouse visa sham organisers jailed

11 Jan 2012 | Posted by Carl Thomas

A couple have been jailed for organising a number of sham marriages for UK spouse visas.

Mohammed Tanin, 26 from Bangladesh, and Maria Marques, a 47-year-old Portuguese woman, were initially arrested in March 2011 when the east London pair were held by officers at their home in Tower Hamlets.

Now both have been convicted at Snaresbrook Crown Court and sentences have been confirmed, with Tanin served with four years to run concurrently and Marques with two years.

UK immigration officials first noticed the pair after their names were found in the notebook of a man already convicted of running a UK spouse visa sham marriage ring. They were also spotted travelling at Luton Airport in June 2010 with several Portuguese women, arousing suspicion regarding their intentions.

It was later revealed that certificate of approval applications from four Bangladeshi men in Britain on valid student UK visas had been filed for marriage to four of these Portuguese women.

An investigation quickly uncovered admissions from all four of the men stating that they had paid Tanin and Marques between £2,000 and £3,000 to facilitate their fraudulent UK spouse visas.

Atiq Haque, of the UKBA north and east London criminal and financial investigation team, commented: "Tanin and Marques were at the heart of this scam and used money to lure these women into marrying men they had never met.

"This case shows the desperate nature of immigration crime with large sums of money changing hands and people being prepared to enter into a full marriage with someone they barely know simply to cheat the immigration system."