The UK Border Agency reports that a bogus ‘bride and groom’ arrested as they prepared to take their wedding vows have been criminally charged with immigration offences.
Following an investigation into the organisation of sham marriages, officers from the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) and the UK Border Agency stopped a wedding on Monday 1 August at Armagh Register Office, between a Latvian woman and a Pakistani man.
The couple were taken to Banbridge police station where they were charged with attempting to evade UK immigration laws.
Muhammad Naeem Aslam, a 22-year-old Pakistan national, appeared before Armagh Magistrates Court on Tuesday 2 August charged with seeking to obtain leave to remain in the UK by deception.
The bride, 21-year-old Latvian national Jolantea Juska, and her sister, 26-year-old Jana Juska, who acted as witness to the marriage, also appeared at Armagh Magistrates today and were both charged with assisting unlawful immigration.
They were all remanded in custody to re-appear at a later date.
In a separate operation, also on Monday 1 August, a marriage that was due to take place at Belfast City Hall was stopped and after questioning The groom, a 21-year-old Pakistani national, was arrested by officers for overstaying the conditions of his visa.
A sham marriage typically occurs when a non-European national marries someone from the UK or another country in the European Economic Area, as a means of trying to gain long-term residency and the right to work and claim benefits in this country.
UK Border Agency senior criminal investigator Earl Aiken said:
‘The UK Border Agency is determined to identify marriages that may not be genuine, and where we suspect that may be the case we will investigate.
‘We have specialist teams of immigration officers and police working together to investigate cases just like this and ensuring people are not able to benefit from breaking the UK’s immigration laws.’ Source: UK Border Agency.
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