Sham Marriages – March 2010

Arranged Marriages, Policy


1 There has been a great deal of confusion recently about the government’s powers to deal with sham marriages. Even the Minister of Immigration seems to have got it wrong in a television interview. Briefing Paper 8.38 sets out the full position…..

The BBC Report

5 On 7 January this year the BBC television 10 o'clock news included film of a covert investigation into a thriving business in which prospective "brides" were women from Eastern Europe taking advantage of their rights as EU citizens and the "bridegrooms" were illegal immigrants from outside the EU. The same report included an interview with Mr Phil Woolas MP, Minister for Immigration, who said that, as a result of a court decision, nothing could be done to prevent such a marriage taking place, no matter what suspicions there might be about its genuineness.

6 This was clearly a mistaken account of the legal position but, despite continuing press reports of sham marriages, the Minister has still not responded to an invitation from our Honorary Legal Adviser to correct the position. A fuller account of the relevant law can be found in Briefing Paper 8.13.

16th March 2010

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