Sunday, November 16, 2008

Ireland:Fine Gael tables amendment to address 'sham' marriages - Naughten

Fine Gael will this week table an amendment to the Civil Registration Act 2004 to tackle the growing trend of so-called 'sham marriages', Fine Gael Immigration & Integration Spokesperson, Denis Naughten TD, said today (Sunday).
"Justice Minister Dermot Ahern believes that marriages of convenience are a serious problem which can undermine our immigration system. Fine Gael has drafted an amendment via the Social Welfare Bill 2008 which can deal with this loophole in a proportionate manner.

"Minister Ahern informed a Dáil committee last week that some: '15% of the applications came from students or persons who had originally come as students and are now illegal. More than 600 of the 4,600 applications were from Nigerian nationals, which is statistically disproportionate. In the main they were failed asylum seekers. Almost 600 applications were by Pakistani nationals, which is again extremely unlikely statistically'.

"Regarding unusual marriage patterns he went on to say that: 'some 10% of all EU spouses were Latvian and 33% of the Latvians were married to Pakistanis. Some 50% of the Latvians were married to Pakistanis, Bangladeshis or Indians as compared with 39% of the Latvians who married non-EU nationals closer to home, including Latvian aliens, Ukrainians, Belarusian or Russian. I believe some 400 Latvians resident in Ireland are married to Pakistanis'."

Deputy Naughten said 'Under current law, there is a provision to have a marriage in this country stopped if there is a belief that it is not genuine. These powers are conferred under Section 58 of the Civil Registration Act 2004 which provides a simple system where any person can register an objection to a marriage before it occurs if they believe there is some impediment to that marriage.

"It is also the case that marrying an Irish person does not give the non-EU national a right to residency and work in this country.

"The Fine Gael amendment will allow registrars to inform the Minister for Justice of suspected marriages of convenience, which could halt the marriage and initiate an investigation to look behind the circumstances of the marriage in question.
"The Minister for Justice has described cases which involved some important impediments to marriage, such as the question of consent in cases where there is an obvious language barrier between the parties to be married, and such as the question of allegations of paying for a marriage to avail of rights under EU law.

"There is a requirement on people wishing to marry to register their intent three months in advance. This amendment will give the Minister for Justice ample time to register an objection and cause an investigation to be carried out, where there are genuine suspicions that this may be a sham marriage."

Hopefully the Government will accept this amendment .

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