Home Office figures have revealed the shocking statistic that 7,606 sham marriages happened in the first 10 months of last year – more than one per hour. Despite the high number, only 90 people were deported in the whole of 2013.
This means that for every 85 fake marriages, just one person was removed from the UK.
The marriages are believed to be loopholes for permanent residency in the United Kingdom. Men are falling prey to fake brides from the Far East, while “women are being duped by romeos from countries such as Tunisia, Morocco and the Gambia who walk out as soon as they get residency”.
The figures, obtained by The Sun newspaper, show that the main non-European nationalities involved were Indian, Pakistani, Nigerian and Bangladeshi. Citizens of EU states have the right to free-movement around the Union, and immigrants from outside Europe can be granted this same right automatically by marrying an EU citizen.
They then quickly divorce, often citing domestic violence.
Delene Alouane of Immigration Marriage Fraud UK told The Sun: “People are being schooled in how to get through the loopholes in Britain — and nothing is being done to stop it,” while Labour immigration spokesman David Hanson said, “People want the rules to be enforced, and these figures show the Government simply isn’t doing that.”
Last month, a report by John Vine, Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration, highlighted the problem Britain faces in combating bogus marriages.
It said that up to 10,000 applications to remain in Britain per year are based on sham marriages. Vine also said that registrars are failing to notify the Home Office when they suspect a sham marriage has taken place.
Last year, Mark Rimmer, chairman of the Local Registration Services Association said that up to 15,000 civil unions in England and Wales each year could be fake.