Sham marriages have always worried me. Every now and then they pop into the news when a spectacular scam has taken place – you know the really brazen ones where fraudsters keep holding regular sham marriages at the same registry office. But we know that it’s just the tip of the iceberg. We read about, wonder about it, and then it disappears from our collective consciousness again, because we like to think that the authorities are doing something and it’s not as bad or as frightening as a murder or drug gangs and so on… or is it?

This is going on continually. I realised when I worried about it that it’s a lot worse than we imagine. To me it’s another form of illegal immigration. And people make a lot of money from it. Let’s be honest: it’s contributing to the fundamental culture change in our society. What was once the minority becomes the norm and suddenly we look around and it doesn’t feel like home anymore, a consequence of mass immigration including illegal immigration and a profound weakening of our borders which all correlates with the changes we see.

It is reported that two years ago sham marriages had increased by 850% and that the authorities felt overwhelmed. That was two years ago and as far as I know nothing has been done or has changed. In fact it has probably got worse as perpetrators tend to get more blatant, not less.

It takes a special sort of low moral compass to walk into a registry office and marry someone you have no connection to whatsoever. And for no reason other than money or to force yourself illegally into a country you have no right to live in whatsoever. To make vows and lie through your back teeth to the authorities that govern the very country you are trying to live in. And to treat with utter contempt a relationship that is meant to be the happiest of your life – marriage.

Some people are forced into it of course by their families in order to get others into our country. Some families sell their daughters for money to potential husbands they have never met to get them into this country. And some cultures use temporary marriages to young women over and over again to bring new ‘husbands’ they have never met to live here. And dump the women soon after, leaving them with nothing.

Generally, the headline ‘sham marriage’ means the money-making business of matching illegal immigrants with those who already have British citizenship (genuinely or not) for a lot of money in order to facilitate their being able to stay here. Against all of our wishes. Frighteningly, terrorists can and have used the sham marriage system to enter and stay in our country. The list of opportunists  that will use sham marriages is endless. Even students are doing it when their visas run out.

Sometimes I do wonder why or how people that I see are even here. Many are genuine of course, tourists, workers etc. But how many are here because of a sham marriage? Who are these British citizens who will sell their soul into a fake marriage and their country’s citizenship for a handful of grubby money? It’s like the mega-basements in London: the problem goes much, much deeper than we think.

This needs proper attention. Add it to the other immigration going on and we are overwhelmed. No one is able to do enough other than uncover a few cases every now and then and make arrests.  Enforcement orders and arrests have increased hugely over the last decade, but still only scratch the surface.

Anyone from outside the EU can marry someone with EU citizenship and then they gain the right to stay in the UK. You can imagine how this has opened up huge money-making opportunities for the many criminal gangs that do this. We’ve even had a female gang flying brides from Lithuania to take part in sham weddings with non EU citizens who want to stay in the UK!  What a great use of our open border system and EU membership! Cultural enrichment for sure! But while we continue to roll over and play dead this will just continue. And we allow it. Here, take our beautiful country, take it all, use any means to stay here and we will just sit here, frozen. It doesn’t take much imagination to figure out how deep the problem must be. The opportunities are endless!

Women who have been paid for the marriages have been sent to prison, people who arrange them have been videoed offering money for sham marriages to British citizens, council and registry offices have referred cases and in some instances marriages can be cancelled or delayed to allow investigation.

The Home Office also turn down many applications to stay every year. But it doesn’t stop it. There were 204 enforcement visits in 2010 and by 2014 this had risen to 2,468. After that it dropped slightly because the authorities have begun to take action. But this is still the tip of the iceberg.

The potential is huge with EU citizenship allowing a marriage partner the right to live in the UK. This explains the increase in criminal gangs becoming involved in sham marriages.  Unfortunately those who have been accused of having a sham marriage can seek to overturn court rulings against deportation. One landmark ruling has already emboldened others to do this. Our own courts are ruling against us, and how many just ‘disappear’..?

The burden of proof that there is no relationship lies with us, not the couple trying to marry, and they can appeal … the authorities do their best, but are swamped.

People say that once we leave the EU our job is done. I say no, that is when our job begins  – of clearing up this mess! For too long we have witnessed our country being used and abused and trampled over, all because our borders are uncontrolled and immigration, whether legal or illegal, is totally out of control. Sham marriages are a huge symptom of this. Since Tony Blair relaxed our borders even more criminals have organised sham marriages.

Sham marriages are just like our awful union with the EU – the end is well overdue on both!

 

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