The government has announced new measures designed to tackle the issue of sham marriages and fraudulent civil partnerships.
People from outside the European Union (EU) sometimes marry EU citizens solely to enter or remain in the UK.
Among the planned measures is a longer notice period for couples before they can get married or enter a civil partnership. Anyone in England and Wales seeking to do so will have to give at least 28 days’ notice before they can proceed.
The notice period will be even longer for couples who are citizens of countries outside the EU. For them, at least 70 days’ notice will be required. This is to give the Home Office adequate time to investigate the authenticity of the relationship.
In a written statement delivered to the House of Commons, the Minister for Security and Immigration James Brokenshire declared that the new rules would be enforced from 2 March 2015. The plans will be incorporated into the Immigration Act 2014 if they receive parliamentary approval.
Earlier this year, the Home Office reported a significant rise in sham marriages and civil partnerships. Registrars notified them of 934 potential sham marriages in 2010, but that number had risen to 2,135 by 2013.
In July, the Home Affairs committee said that the government did not fully appreciate the scale of the problem. In a report, they said that the notable increase in sham marriage has created an “industry of deceit” in the UK.
To read the full government announcement, click here.
Photo by Quinn Dombrowski via Flickr