What are the chances of getting caught for sham marriages?
Very, very high and the sentences are getting stiffer.
In May 2011 the UK government did away for the requirement to obtain a certificate of approval to marry a non-EU citizen in the UK. The result was a massive up turn in the number of people willing to risk entering into a sham marriage for many various reasons, mostly financial and mostly involving serious and organised crime.
As a result of this, the UK Border Agency and police have taken it very seriously and will prosecute every instance of sham marriage that they discover, whether at the time of the marriage or after it has taken place and in some cases, before the 'happy day' even arrives.
So, what are the offences? For the person who is an EU or UK citizen and agrees to take part in the sham, the offence is 'Assisting unlawful immigration into an EU member state' and can take place within and without the UK - you don't have to actually move across the border for it to happen. I believe, without looking it up, this is contrary to section 24 of the Immigration Act 1971 and carries a maximum term of 2 years on indictment.
For the person hoping to benefit from the sham by getting to stay in the UK or other EU country, the offence is 'Obtaining leave to remain by deception'. This is contrary to section 25 of the Immigration Act 1971 and carries a maximum sentence of, once again, without looking it up, I believe of 14 years. You can also reasonably expect to be deported or removed from the UK upon completion of the sentence.
There are also fines available to the Judge which may or may not be levied along with the sentence.
The UKBA and police usually seek and do get periods of imprisonment for those involved.
Others involved in the process can also reasonably expect to be prosecuted and go
Finally - chances of getting caught? Very high. Chances of going to prison? Exceptionally high! Chances of getting deported or removed from the UK? Unavoidable with the added disadvantage of probably getting denied future visa's for the UK for a very, very long time.
One final tip - are you a UK citizen by birth? Excellent, well done, just prison and a criminal record then. Are you a UK citizen by naturalisation? Careful! Section 4. of the Nationality, Asylum and Immigration Acts 2002 and 2006 and subsequent acts and amendments empower the Secretary of State to 'deprive' you of that citizenship, i.e., revoke it and send you back to whence you came, regardless of how long you have been in the UK - so yes, arrive from overseas as a child and lived here since the age of 3 and are now in your 40's? It can still happen - don't do it!
BTW, I may have mixed up my S.24 and 25's, but it's one or t'other for the various offences!
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