Fake Weddings Scottish authorities tighten immigration rules to reduce suspicious nuptials

Scottish immigration chiefs are launching a crackdown on sham marriages after reports by rgistrars show that about 11 fake weddings are conducted weekly.

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Couple getting married play

Couple getting married

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Scottish immigration chiefs are launching a crackdown on sham marriages after reports by registrars show that about 11 fake weddings are conducted weekly.

The number of suspicious weddings in Scotland increased to 570 last year, which is a 28 percent hike from 2013.

This alarming rise prompted the Home Office to announce new procedures, including requiring that couples give a 28-day notice instead of the current 15.

If there are any suspicions of a fake marriage, they may need to give 70 days' notice for further investigation.

Despite these measures, critics have warned the government to do more in order to halt the surge.

Vice chairman of Migration Watch UK, Alp Mehmet, said: "If you are looking to come to this country you should not simply find a way around the rules.

"I suspect that the numbers reflect something that is going on now on a very significant scale."

According to the National Records of Scotland, Scottish registrars reported a total of 570 sham marriages to the Home Office in 2014, compared to 445 in 2013 and 31 in 2009.

Speaking on the matter, UK immigration and security minister, James Brokenshire said: "Marriage can no longer be seen as the fast-track option for those seeking to cheat their way into the UK.

"This Government have done more than any other to clamp down on sham marriage and the Immigration Act has given us the strongest platform to identify abuse."

Most times, the Home Office immigration staff often only step in to stop fake weddings when the couple are already at the venue.

In 2012, Slovakians Helen Kulova, 47, Ivan Balog, 27, and Renata Kulova, 20, were jailed for three years each at Dundee Sheriff Court after they promised 19-year-old Anna Tothova a 'better life' if she entered into a sham marriage.

Also, fake marriage fixer, Janet Crathie, of Cardonald, Glasgow, was jailed in 2011 after she was exposed by the Daily Record.

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