MPs urge greater powers for registrars to halt sham marriages

Registrars should be given greater powers so they can stop weddings they believe are "bogus", an influential group of MPs has said. The Home Affairs Select Committee said more needed to be done to prevent what had become immigration scam "industry".

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Govt vows 'tougher action' to tackle sham marriages

The Government promised it was "taking tougher action" against sham marriages as part of plans to curb the overall numbers of immigrants entering the UK.

A Home Office spokesman said:

We are taking ever tougher action, including through the new Immigration Act, to crack down on those who try to cheat our immigration system by abusing marriage laws.

We are also focusing on cutting out the abuse of free movement between EU member states and addressing the factors that drive European immigration to Britain.

– A Home Office spokesman


MPs warn of 'industry of deceit' to get round UK borders

There is an "industry of deceit" which allows people to hop over border controls using a sham marriage, the head of an influential group of MPs has said.

Home Affairs Select Committee chair Keith Vaz said:

There is an industry of deceit in the UK which uses sham marriages to circumvent immigration control.

The estimated 10,000 sham marriages appears to be increasing at an alarming rate. One sham marriage can provide UK residence rights to an entire extended family who would otherwise have no right to be here.

The role of registrars is critical. The Home Office should not only provide them with better feedback and training on reporting but also empower them to stop suspicious marriages.

Data is not being collected in a consistent manner across the UK. We cannot afford for any town or city to become a back door entry to our country.

The Government needs to publish the total number of interventions, arrests, prosecutions and removals to prove that action is being taken.

– Keith Vaz

MPs urge greater powers to stop sham marriages

Registrars should be given more powers to halt "bogus" wedding ceremonies, an influential groups of MPs has said.

The number of suspect couples referred to the Home Office has more than doubled. Credit: PA

The Home Affairs Select Committee (HAC) warned more needed to be done to stop what had become an immigration scam "industry".

HAC pointed to the number of suspect couples being referred annually to the Home Office, which has more than doubled in three years to 2,135.

The true figure is almost certainly far higher due to under-reporting, MPs added.

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