Four people have been sentenced for trying to organise or obtain UK spouse visas fraudulently.
The individuals, all of whom are foreign nationals living in Nottingham, were found guilty of taking part in sham marriages in attempts to cheat UK immigration laws earlier this month. The verdicts were handed out at Nottingham Crown Court after the accused pleaded guilty to obtaining leave to remain in the UK by deception.
Antony Uteh was sentenced to a jail term of 18 months for his fraudulent marriage to a Portuguese woman back in November 2008. Czech national Karel Pospisil received the same sentence for assisting unlawful entry into a member state.
Nigerian national Abiodun Akintelu was sentenced to ten months for seeking to obtain leave to remain in the UK by deception and another Czech national Lucie Kristove received 90 hours community work along with nine months, suspended for 12 months, for assisting unlawful entry into a member state.
Emma Smith, of the UK Border Agency's (UKBA) Nottingham criminal and financial investigation team, commented on the case: “We are pleased that our work to crack these two separate sham marriage scams have resulted in custodial sentences for all four fraudsters.
“We will continue to clamp down on sham marriages and other forms of immigration abuse. Anyone attempting to benefit illegally from the privileges of life in the UK faces prison and deportation.”
The sentences were the result of a series of raids by the UKBA back in January 2011. They picked up the offenders and conducted investigations into their immigration statuses and personal relationships.
Individuals with genuine relationships behind their marriages and sufficient funds to support themselves can legitimately apply for a UK spouse visa if they wish to remain in the country with their partner. However, the marriage itself must be genuine for this to apply.