‘Groom’ is arrested in ‘sham’ marriage
AN INDIAN man was arrested just minutes before he was due to get married in a suspected sham wedding in Swindon.
Acting on information that the relationship may not be genuine, officers from the Home Office Immigration Enforcement team attended Swindon Register Office in Euclid Street at approximately 2.30pm on Thursday.
They arrested the 22-year-old ‘groom’ and a 23-year-old guest, who was also Indian. Both men are suspected of being in the country illegally and are now detained while steps are taken to remove them from the country.
The would-be bride, a 19-year-old Estonian woman, was questioned by officers and later released.
Officers also searched a home in the town as part of yesterday’s operation.
The operations were carried out with the full co-operation of the Superintendent Registrar.
Immigration Minister Mark Harper said: “We are determined to stop migrants abusing the marriage system to cheat immigration rules.
“The gangs involved in this criminal activity often have links to serious organised crime, and prey on some of society’s most vulnerable people.
“Measures outlined in the Immigration Bill include extending the marriage and civil penalty notice period to 28 days in England and Wales, and 70 days in some circumstances.
“This will give our officers and registrars more time to investigate, prosecute and remove those attempting to stage sham marriages.”
A sham marriage or civil partnership typically occurs when a non-European national marries someone from the European Economic Area as a means of attempting to gain long-term residency and the right to work and claim benefits in the UK.
Anyone with information about suspected immigration abuse can contact Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111, anonymously, or log on to www.crimestoppers-uk.org
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