Pair jailed for Northampton spouse visa attempt

14 Mar 2012 | Posted by Carl Thomas

Two people have been jailed for attempting to marry for UK immigration purposes, it has been revealed.

Pakistani Asif Ali, 31, was arrested at the St Giles Square Guildhall venue in December of last year as he was about to wed Polish woman Helena Puchalska, 20, to gain a UK spouse visa.

Both parties pleaded guilty to charges of conspiring to facilitate a breach of the UK immigration laws at Northampton Crown Court. Ali received a jail sentence of two years, while Puchalska was issued with a 15 month sentence.

Immigration officials were tipped off about the possibility of the marriage being a sham when a registrar reported the wedding to the UK Border Agency (UKBA) after becoming suspicious of the lack of contact between the pair.

A note in Ali's car, believed to have been intended for his genuine girlfriend, helped to cement the evidence against the pair. It read: "I married Hela Puchalska because of papers and I love Anna a lot. I make deal with her for £2,500."

Further investigations lead to the pair giving contradictory information about their basic domestic arrangements and revealed that they had a very limited knowledge of each others' pasts and lifestyles.

Andy Radcliffe, an inspector on the criminal and financial investigations team with the UK, commented on the case: "This was a marriage of convenience - convenient for Puchalska because it would have lined her pockets and convenient for Ali because it was a means to UK residency. They are now facing the significantly inconvenient consequences of their actions."