Sham marriages crackdown as registrars gain new power
It might be a well known fact by now that the United Kingdoms is coming down harshly on immigration regulations in all ways it can.
One of these ways is by potentially giving registrars the power to interrupt or otherwise break apart suspicious matrimonies as they happen.
This is a crackdown on an event dubbed the ‘sham marriage’, in which a British national will (usually for a fee) marry somebody in order to achieve a certain goal.
These are called ‘marriages of convenience’ as opposed to love or partnership.
While in itself, this event is not illegal, the act of taking part in order to deceive officials is.
It is considered a violation as it allows the spouse immigration rights and citizenship.
They have become increasingly popular in the last few years, with a steep incline in these events taking place.
In 2011, the UK Border Agency issued advice and guidelines to the clergy, which gave them power to decide not to marry a couple if the situation felt ‘suspicious’ or ‘wrong’.
As developed countries have imposed stricter guidelines, sham marriages have become a more and more effective method of gaining Visa into a nation.
As a result, this increase has caused serious concern due to the lack of security in the situations.
New legislation could allow more power to registrars, allowing them to interrupt marriages in progress, involving the police, who would proceed to possibly prosecute the suspicious potential spouse.
However, lack of effective methods which spot these sham marriages have resulted in many genuine marriages being interrupted by police, which one spokesperson said “damages community relations”.
The problem resides though, that although this process is very inefficient, with one claim suggesting 2 in 5 of these crackdowns are against genuine marriages, at this moment, there is no better system.
These decisions are open to influence by disposition of the clergy and others who have power to decide, and may result in inequality toward certain races if members are not properly checked.
There is no doubt that as the situation evolves, more efficient methods will be found and the system will be optimised.
But for now, there have been many documented cases of police arresting innocent people and ruining expensive and well attended marriages.
Nonetheless, the question remains;
Is this method acceptable, even if it is inefficient, as long as it prevents a certain amount of ‘fake marriages’?
As the government and immigration agencies pay this subject more attention, we will begin to see popular opinion toward the subject. Remember that even is 2 in 5 marriages interrupted are real, there is a further 3 in 5 that are fake and prevented.
That is 60% efficient.
The impact of forced Visa immigration through processes like this are yet to be fully felt, but as the UK tightens it’s grip around all things border, we will soon find out how much damage these illegal processes have really been costing the nations a whole.