Officers from the immigration authorities have halted a suspected sham wedding ceremony in Hull, where it was thought two individuals had put together a fake marriage for the purposes of accessing a UK spouse visa.
A total of five people were arrested by the Home Office criminal investigations team, who had received information that the relationship at the heart of the 'wedding' might not be genuine, the Hull Daily Mail reported.
The majority of sham marriages tend to take place between EU nationals and someone another individual from outside of the European Economic Area. The latter usually pays the former to go through with the wedding.
This situation was no different in that it involved a 33-year-old Pakistani man and a 27-year-old Hungarian woman. Both individuals were arrested just a few moments before the ceremony was due to commence. A 48-year-old man is also being questioned in connection with the case on suspicion of conspiracy to facilitate a breach of UK immigration law.
Mark Bates from the Home Office criminal investigations department commented: “Where we receive information that a wedding may be suspicious we will investigate and, if necessary, intervene and arrest those involved.
“This investigation will now continue following the arrests we have made and the evidence we have seized.”
The investigation dragged up previous reports that suggested Hull was being targeted as a location for sham wedding ceremonies. Last year, staff at the Hull Register Office raised the alarm to alert the authorities to what they believed might be a growing problem. Officers worked hard to crackdown on the issue and continue to put processes in place to prevent ongoing problems.
UK spouse visas are available for legitimate marriages between couples where a genuine relationship lies at the heart of the wedding. There are some minimum requirements in terms of salary and support, however.