A sham marriage or fake marriage is a marriage of convenience entered into without intending to create a real marital relationship. This is usually for the purpose of gaining an advantage from the marriage. Definitions ofsham marriage vary by jurisdiction, but are often related to immigration.
Definitions of sham marriage vary by jurisdiction, but are often related to immigration. The essential point in the varying definitions is whether the couple intend to live in a real marital relationship, to establish a life together. A typical definition by the UK Home Office in 2015:
- “A sham marriage or civil partnership is one where the relationship is not genuine but one party hopes to gain an immigration advantage from it. There is no subsisting relationship, dependency, or intent to live as husband and wife or civil partners.”
While referred to as a “sham” or “fake” because of its motivation, the union itself is legally valid if it conforms to the formal legal requirements for marriage in the jurisdiction. Arranging or entering into such a marriage to deceive public officials is in itself a violation of the law of some countries, for example the US.
After a period, couples often divorce if there is no purpose in remaining married.
Sham marriages are distinct from marriage fraud, which is a type of romance scam, in which one spouse is unwittingly taken advantage of by the foreign spouse who feigns romantic interest, typically in order to obtain a residence permit or for money.
It has become increasingly apparent in recent years that there is much resort to sham marriage as a means of obtaining leave to enter for persons who would not otherwise be able to obtain it. The subject has in recent years received the attention of Parliament and the courts. This study after analysing the key factors involved in sham relationships will then try to briefly discuss all major tenants in favour and against these marital relations. The major rationale of the study is to evaluate the issue in view of problems it creates and effects it leaves on society and further provide solutions considering the stats and foundation of the problem.
Background To The Project:
Immigration problems is a hot topic and is constantly been a victim of new government policies. Every year hundreds of people in UK are convicted of bogus marriages and scam relationships linked with illegal immigration. The number of suspected sham marriages by illegal immigrants has leapt by more than half in the past year. Figures from the Home Office show a 54% jump in suspected cases reported by registrars in England and Wales. The leap comes after the Law Lords overturned a government scheme designed to stop illegal immigrants marrying. BBC reported on Jan 7, 2010 that eastern European spouses who have a legal right to be in UK are mostly involved in scam marriages and this is making it simple for migrants to settle in UK. The issue is historic, but due to recent reports from security officials and threats from militants and terrorists, the issue has resurfaced as it is easy for terrorist to settle and plan their attacks in UK. It is also becoming quite apparent that this activity is mostly done for financial purposes. Militant organisations have huge amount of finances available and it makes it easy for them to get settled and plan their activities accordingly.
Outline Of The Project:
This study is different because it will address the issue from the perspective of the militant threats and will also consider the problem from the very perspective of social threats caused by these scam marriages. The research will also provide figures from some militants affected states to show the crime rates of foreign illegal immigrants in these countries and how the problem can be effectively addressed by European Union.
The research will first provide all the history of topic followed by current UK legislations on the issue. After that all possible impacts on society will be addressed and appropriate solutions and recommendations to solve the issue will be formulated in consideration with root causes and social impacts. The issue is quite old, but this research will address it in context with changing world, limitations of UK immigration problems and societal causes.
The research will be based on theoretical aspect of the problem along with empirical evidences. Statistics will be gathered from variety of sources including BBC reports, observations of UK border agency, current law cases related to problem will be weighted, human rights reports and UK criminal records. Along with that as a reference some statistics will also be provided of some states victim of militant attacks and how they handled the problem. Every particular problem caused by these sham marriages will be supported by stats but ultimate weightage will be given to social theoretical context of problem.
Marriage for legal benefits of personal convenience often constitutes a sham marriage, including marrying solely to gain legal status as an immigrant. The couple marries with knowledge that the marriage is solely for the purpose of obtaining legal status for the man or woman in the destination country. This is frequently arranged as a business transaction. This occurs more commonly with foreigners already in the country………
This paragraph will briefly review the history of UK legislation concerning sham marriages. It will further discuss few cases in past where courts have ruled against or in favor of sham marriages. Also the detail analysis of court rulings will be provided in order to get an idea of positivity and negativity of sham marriages.
The numbers of illegal immigrants who stage fake ceremonies to stay in the country are likely to top 500 this year, the highest level since 2004. Growing abuse of marriage laws appeared to have been stemmed that year after non-EU nationals were told they must apply for Home Office approval before marrying an EU citizen. But last year Law Lords said the rules against fake marriages breached human rights and could deny genuine couples the right to marry……….Here current UK and EU legislations will be analyzed along with laws implemented by USA. USA is chosen because like UK, America also saw large number of illegal immigrants in past decade and threats faced by both countries are same.
Impact of Legislation on Immigration:
Here the impact of UK legislations on immigrations will be seen with regards to stats and facts. It will be discussed how legislation against sham marriages reduces immigrations and benefit the society overall. Both aspects of research will be used i.e. empirical evidence/stats and theoretical context.
Problems with law:
There are a number of problems with this new law (aside from the new labour practice of exaggerating problems to justify solutions). One, it is potentially discriminatory since marriage in the Church of England is not included. Two, the refusal, if not of entry clearance, then of written permission, or conceivably the Secretary of State’s regulations, could lead to a violation of article 12 (the right to marry) of the human rights convention………As evident from the lines, every law also affects the right and true marital cases. So here it will be seen how the laws are affecting the UK citizens who have a fundamental right to marry anyone they like to.
Migrants are arriving at the rate of 500,000 a year – or nearly one a minute.
1 Allowing for those who leave, net foreign migration reached 333,000 in 2007, three times the level of 1997.
2 The total of migrants who have arrived since 1997 is about 3 million (net foreign immigration of 2.67 plus half the latest estimate of 725,000 illegal)…. Actual facts figures will be mentioned, so that volume of the problem can be correctly evaluated to get an idea of what threats sham marriages can or can’t pose in society.
Sham Marriages Stats:
The numbers of illegal immigrants who stage fake ceremonies to stay in the country are likely to top 500 this year, the highest level since 2004. Growing abuse of marriage laws appeared to have been stemmed that year after non-EU nationals were told they must apply for Home Office approval before marrying an EU citizen. But last year Law Lords said the rules against fake marriages breached human rights and could deny genuine couples the right to marry………. Here figures specific to changing laws historically will be provided and analysed.
Human Rights and Legislations:
There are a number of problems with this new law, , the refusal, if not of entry clearance, then of written permission, or conceivably the Secretary of State’s regulations, could lead to a violation of article 12 (the right to marry) of the human rights convention….. How these laws contrast with human right of an individual?
Human Rights Concerns:
In this paragraph concerns of human rights organization in favor of sham marriages will be discussed. It will be seen what aspect of individual rights are violated when sham marriages are prohibited. Here only those rights will be mentioned which are in direct alignment with current legislations, so that at end of research these concerns are evaluated and properly dealt with.
UK legislations and Human Rights:
It will further be discussed how historically and presently UK immigration laws answer to human rights concerns. Also it will be seen which issues can be addressed while formulating a policy.
Observations from UK border agency:
It is important to discuss the observations of UK border agency as they are in position to highlight the problems properly and also they are a reliable source to get statistics and facts.
The social issues raised due to sham marriage will be discussed in view of crime rates and potential threat of militant organisations.
Terrorism and Immigration:
Global effect of terrorism and its impact on UK due to easy access to UK soil will be seen and examples of various countries victim of this paradox will be highlighted.
Law cases which relates to the problem and some critics on sham marriages, sham relationships will provided here in context with decision of courts.
It will be summarised how social problems, terrorist threats and sham marriages relate and what present efforts are made to make the immigration system transparent.
Logical results following from literature review using the methodology will be provided here. It will be seen how sham marriages leading to immigration has led to social problems in UK and how this particular system poses threat to UK residents and government alike.
All the data, facts, figures and theoretical perspective provided earlier will be discussed and will be related to research hypothesis. Detail discussion on results from literature will be seen in direct reference to research questions.
Conclusions And Recommendations:
The research will be concluded here with recommendations for improvement of UK legislations in order to reduce the negative influence of these sham relationships on society.
References: (Articles, Books And Publications)
6. http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=m_Ddtwbrk7YC&pg=PA82&dq=sham+relati onship+in+context+of+uk+immigration&cd=2#v=onepage&q=&f=false
7. ONS Total International Migration Time Series 1991 – 2007 Table 2.01a
8. Interim report from LSE London, 16 February 09 “Economic Impact on London and the UK of an Earned Regularisation of Irregular Migrants in the UK”
9. “The Economic Impact of Immigration” Cm7414 June 2008
10. ONS Quarterly Migrant Worker Estimates February 2009 Table 2
11. www.desf.gov.uk/rsgateway/DB/SFR/s000786/SFR 09 2008.pdf
12. Immigration Control: House of Commons Home Affairs Committee; 5th report of session 2005-06; Volume1