Immigration officers swoop to stop ‘sham’ weddings at Camden Town Hall
- Credit: Archant
Immigration enforcement officers swooped moments before two couples were due to tie the knot in suspected sham weddings at Camden Town Hall.
Suspicions were aroused in one case because a 37-year-old woman from Peru could not answer basic questions about her 70-year-old British husband-to-be, and the pair also struggled to communicate.
The marriage was halted and the woman arrested for working in breach of her visa conditions on March 27, in one of two stings in two days at the town hall in Judd Street, King’s Cross.
The other operation on March 28 prevented an Algerian man, 22, from marrying a 20-year-old French woman before being arrested for illegally entering the UK.
The Peruvian woman and Algerian man were detained pending removal from the UK, while their would-be partners were released after questioning.
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In both cases, the Home Office was tipped off by Camden Council. Cllr Abdul Hai, Camden Council’s cabinet member for community safety, said: “We have a close working relationship with the Home Office and always share our concerns with them about suspicious marriages.
“We hope that it will act as a deterrent to others considering using Camden as a location to carry out a sham marriage and sends out a clear message that activity of this nature will not be tolerated.”
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A council spokesman added about a dozen sham marriages are detected each year by registration officers, which he said is in line with other boroughs.
Steve Fisher, head of north London immigration enforcement for the Home Office, said: “Across London we are working closely with registrars to clamp down on sham weddings and civil partnerships.
“This operation is another example of the success that we are having, and more like this are planned in the future.”
“Those who would attempt to abuse the marriage system to get round our immigration laws should know that we will investigate and, if necessary, intervene and arrest those involved.”
If the weddings had gone ahead, the non-European national could have gained long-term residency in the UK and rights to work and benefits.
Anyone with information about immigration crime can contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.