The UK Border agency has announced that four people were arrested this week as part of an investigation into a suspected sham marriage operation in Reading.
Acting on intelligence, officers from the Agency’s Thames Valley immigration crime team swooped on Reading register office at around 14:00, just as the service was about to start.
The would-be bride, a 25-year-old Polish national, and her groom, a 22-year-old Pakistani man were both arrested on suspicion of perjury, a serious crime.
Two witnesses, both Polish men were also arrested on suspicion of assisting illegal immigration. All 4 are now being questioned by police and by immigration officers.
At the same time officers carried out searches of 3 addresses in the Southall and Northolt areas of west London.
Rob Allen, head of the Berkshire local immigration team, UK Border Agency said:
‘We are working closely with registrars to identify marriages that may not be genuine, and where we suspect that may be the case we will investigate.
‘We will not tolerate immigration abuse and our immigration crime teams are cracking down on sham marriages all over the country.
‘Our main aim is to identify the organisers who profit from and fuel the demand for sham marriages, and destroy their criminal business.’
The enforcement operation was part of planned nationwide action by us to tackle illegal immigration and organised immigration crime.
Damian Green, the Immigration Minister said:
‘The Government has tasked the UK Border Agency with carrying out an intense period of enforcement activity. We are determined to make it harder than ever for illegal immigrants to come to the UK.’
Ministers of religion are now being taught how to spot sham marriages by the UK Border Agency following a crackdown on bogus weddings and the successful prosecution of the ‘sham marriage vicar’ who received a four year prison sentence earlier this month.
Migrants who take part in illegal marriages should be aware that it will not give them an automatic right to a British passport. Legitimate lawyers and OISC registered immigration advisers will never recommend entering into a fake marriage to obtain leave to remain in the UK.
The government advises that anyone with possible information about immigration crime should contact Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or visit the Crimestoppers website.
If you need any immigration advice or help with Sponsorship or Work Permits, Visa or an appeal against a refusal please email: