The UK Border agency reports that a 30-year-old Sri Lankan man was arrested by officers moments before he was about to take part in a suspected ‘sham’ civil partnership ceremony, with a man more than twice his age, at Ealing register office.
Acting on information that the relationship may not be genuine, our officers attended the Town Hall on New Broadway at around 3pm on Thursday 7 June 2012.
The operation was carried out with the full co-operation of the registrar.
Just before the ceremony was due to begin our officers intervened, and the 30-year-old visa overstayer was arrested for being in the country illegally having overstayed his visa.
He had been due to enter into a partnership with a 68-year-old British man, but later admitted the purpose of the ceremony was to allow him to stay in the UK.
The 68-year-old British man was questioned by officers and released, while the Sri Lankan has been detained pending his removal from the UK.
Deputy director Paul Wylie, from the UK Border Agency, said:
‘We’re working closely with registrars across London to clamp down on sham weddings and civil partnership.
‘Where there are suspicions that a relationship may not be genuine we will investigate and, if necessary, intervene to stop it happening.’
A sham marriage or civil partnership typically occurs when a non-European national marries someone from the European Economic Area (EEA) as a means of attempting to gain long-term residency and the right to work and claim benefits in the UK. Source: UK Border Agency.
Had the sham ceremony gone ahead the Sri Lankan would have been able to apply to remain in the UK, despite over staying his visa, based on the fact that he had established a ‘family life’.
Earlier this month Home Secretary Theresa May has told the judiciary to stop allowing visa overstayers and foreign prisoners to avoid deportation on Human Rights ‘Article 8’ grounds.
May said she would bring in primary legislation if judges failed to implement new rules and guidelines expected to be introduced.
Following this a further immigration clampdown was announced when May revealed that if a British Citizen wants to marry a foreigner and live in the UK together they will need to earn at least £18,600. But the government will be unable to prevent those marrying EU citizens from applying for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) and settling in the UK under EEA Rules.
Cynthia Barker, of Immigration Advisers Bison Management, has dealt with thousands of dependant visa applications and appeals and feels the new Rules, which come into effect on 9 July, will mostly exclude first generation migrant workers who usually earn lower wages than similarly qualified native workers.
‘The rules will particularly hit Senior Carers and some Nurses earning less than £9.00 per hour who want their partners and children to join them in the UK.’
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