A genuine couple can enter in a marriage of convenience, says High Court

A couple may enter into a “marriage of convenience”, even if they are in a genuine relationship. This was, in summary, the finding of the High Court in the case of Molina, R (On the Application Of) v The Secretary of State for the Home Department [2017] EWHC 1730 (Admin). Background The Appellant, Mr Molina is a Bolivian national. He entered the UK illegally in April 2007 using a false Bolivian passport. In April 2013, he met an Italian national, Ms Salguero, and they entered in a relationship in October 2013. They moved in together in September 2014 and planned to get married on 19 May 2015. On 26 February…

16th August 2017 By Nath Gbikpi

Supreme Court confirms that burden for proving marriage of convenience rests with Home Office

The Supreme Court has handed down its judgement in the case of Sadovska and another (Appellants) v Secretary of State for the Home Department (Respondent) (Scotland) [2017] UKSC 54. In unanimously allowing the appeal, the Supreme Court ruled that the burden of proof of establishing a ‘marriage of convenience’ falls on the Home Office. The court therefore concurred with the previous rulings of the Court of Appeal in the cases of Rosa v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2016] EWCA Civ 14 and Agho v The Secretary of State for the Home Department [2015] EWCA Civ 1198 The Appellants are Ms Sadovska, a Lithuanian national, and Mr Malik, a Pakistani national. Ms Sadovska, having lived and…

26th July 2017 By Nath Gbikpi

Chief inspector criticises Home Office handling of sham marriage cases

The Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration has published a new report on the Home Office approach to sham marriages. The report is critical of the change in approach brought about by new powers conferred on officials by the Immigration Act 2014: The inspection found that the initial implementation of the new provisions was problematic, indicating a lack of proper planning: the Home Office did not communicate effectively with registrars about its new way of operating, where it no longer attended register offices and prevented ceremonies from proceeding new processes were cumbersome and weakened by their reliance on fragmented IT and by the limited operational support received from local enforcement…

21st December 2016 By Colin Yeo

New guidance and numbers on sham marriage investigations published by Home Office

New Home Office guidance on Marriage Investigations has been published. Formally, it is Chapter 30 of the Enforcement Guidance and Instructions. The purpose of the guidance is stated on page 1: This guidance is aimed primarily at Immigration Enforcement staff involved in investigating allegations of sham marriage, civil partnerships and marriages of convenience. The publication is is a little curious because on 2 August 2016 I was told in response to a Freedom of Information request that there was no such policy. And how the new policy relates to the existing one on criminal investigation of sham marriages is also a mystery. See also this relevant recent written question in Parliament by…

12th August 2016 By Colin Yeo

Reflecting EU law faithfully? R (Bilal Ahmed) v SSHD IJR [2015] UKUT 00436 (IAC)

UPDATE: Permission to appeal to the Court of Appeal seems to have been granted: Sales LJ grants permission to appeal from UT's recent decision in Bilal Ahmed) (EEA/s 10 appeal rights: effect) IJR: http://t.co/fbQLhZpxZq — Zane Malik (@MalikZane) October 9, 2015 On 24 July 2015 the Upper Tribunal handed down a curious judgment on in-country appeal rights where the Home Office claims that an EEA national has entered into a sham marriage. Judges Storey and Lane, both senior and experienced members of the Upper Tribunal, came to a rather odd decision: where the Secretary of State claims a reasonable suspicion that the third country national spouse of an EEA national…

14th September 2015 By Elspeth Guild

New Home Office policy document on investigating sham marriages

Criminal investigation: sham marriage is a new Home Office policy document setting out in one place the Home Office approach to investigating sham marriage allegations, including under the new Immigration Act 2014 scheme of referrals from registrars and the increased notice period (from 28 to 72 days) that the Home Office can trigger at will to delay marriages taking place. It sets out the various offences with which the parties to a sham marriage and the organisers might be charged. It is worth a read. This jumped out at me as an example of an Austin Powers style disabled internal monologue: Some Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) lawyers authorise facilitation charges against…

26th August 2015 By Colin Yeo

Minister misleads on sham marriage numbers

[UPDATE: The 4,000 figure is made up too. Scroll to bottom for more on that.] On 25 November 2014, Minister for Immigration and Security, James Broken-shire said: The new Immigration Act enables us to take tougher action to crack down on those who try to cheat our immigration system by abusing marriage laws. In 2013-14, we intervened in more than 1,300 sham marriages – more than double that of the previous year. I queried with the UK Statistics Authority whether that number was accurate. I was concerned that in fact there are not 1,300 proven sham marriages and that the Minister was quoting the number of suspected or alleged sham…

16th December 2014 By Colin Yeo