Sham Marriages on the Increase

Rayhana Kausar, a Graduate Chartered Legal Executive in Astle Paterson’s (Solicitors in Burton upon Trent) Family department comments on The Home Affairs Committee recently published report in which it is set out that the “Sham marriage ‘industry’ [is] increasing at an alarming rate.”

In the covering notes to The Home Affairs Committee’s report on the work of the Immigration Directorates (October-December 2013) which was published on 25th July 2014, the committee set out the current challenges being faced by sham marriages:-

  • “The organisation of sham marriages is a industry and appears to be increasing at an alarming rate.
  • We are not convinced that the Home Office has a true understanding of the scale of the problem.
  • A sham marriage does not just provide UK residence rights to one person but to many other family members.
  • Registrars and reporting sham marriages
  • We recommend that the law be changed so that if the Home Office enforcement team do not act on a section 24 report from the Registrar and the Registrar is confident the wedding is a sham, then the Registrar should have the power to cancel the wedding.
  • The Home Office should provide training on how to identify potential shams and, most importantly, it should provide full, accurate and timely information to the Registrars to tell them what action is being taken as a result of their reports.”

Rayhana notes that “the committee recommended, amongst other things, that in order to tackle an apparent increase in sham marriages that the Home Office should make known to the general public the number of prosecutions relating the sham marriages together with the number of people deported from the UK as a result.”

Keith Vaz as Chairman of the Committee said “There is an industry of deceit in the UK which uses sham marriages to circumvent immigration control. Marriage is a precious institution and should not be hijacked to make a mockery of the law or our immigration system …

The role of Registrars is critical. The Home Office should not only provide them with better feedback and training on reporting but also empower them to stop suspicious marriages.”

Should you wish to read the report then please click here: The work of the Immigration Directorates (October – December 2013).

Should you wish to discuss issues concerning a separation from your partner with Rayhana Kausar, Graduate Chartered Legal Executive in Astle Paterson’s Family Department, please contact her on 01283 531366 or by way of email at

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