Crackdown on fictitious marriages – TNT Magazine

Vicars have been ordered to order couples, including foreign nationals, to apply for a joint license as part of a campaign to crack down on fictitious marriages.

The Church of England has been ordered to stop reading banns before marriages involving a foreign national from outside Europe.

The move follows an increase in mock wedding ceremonies where couples marry just so a foreign national can stay in the UK.

Bans were originally introduced to prevent invalid marriages, as they allow any objection to be expressed.

Under the new rules, all couples, including a foreign national, who insist that their banns be published should have their contact details forwarded to the British Borders Agency (UKBA).

The new rules will affect ceremonies involving a bride or groom from outside the EU, even if they marry a Briton.

If the clergy are subjected to threats or pressure, they are advised to contact the police.

Reverend John Packer, Bishop of Ripon and Leeds, said: “The House of Bishops is clear that the office of holy marriage is not to be misused by those who do not intend to contract an authentic marriage but simply a fictitious marriage.

He added: “The purpose of this advice and guidance from the bishops to the clergy and those responsible for joint licensing is therefore to prevent the conclusion of fictitious marriages in the Church of England. “

Immigration Minister Damian Green said: ‘Potential fraudsters should remember that a marriage in itself does not equal an automatic right to stay in the UK.

He added: “The UK Borders Agency is already working closely with the Church not only to investigate and disrupt suspected mock marriages, but also to provide advice and support.

“The new guidelines are another step in the right direction to tackle these abuses. “

Reverend Alex Brown was jailed for four years last September for marrying 360 illegal immigrants to complete strangers.

The Daily Mail revealed last month that fictitious marriages have fallen from 282 per year to 934 per year over the past four years. This means that 18 fictitious weddings take place every week.