NI Sham Marriage Pair Charged

A 'bride and groom' arrested as they prepared to take their wedding vows in Co Armagh have been charged with immigration offences. This followed an investigation into the organisation of sham marriages, and saw officers from the PSNI and the UK Border Agency stopping a wedding on Monday at Armagh Register Office, between a Latvian woman and a Pakistani man.

The couple were taken to Banbridge police station where they were charged with attempting to evade UK immigration laws.

Muhammad Naeem Aslam, a 22-year-old Pakistan national, appeared before Armagh Magistrates Court charged with seeking to obtain leave to remain in the UK by deception.

The bride, 21-year-old Latvian national Jolantea Juska, and her sister, 26-year-old Jana Juska, who acted as witness to the marriage, also appeared at Armagh Magistrates and were both charged with assisting unlawful immigration.

They were all remanded in custody to re-appear at a later date.
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In a separate operation, a marriage that was due to take place at Belfast City Hall was stopped and after questioning, the groom, a 21-year-old Pakistani national, was arrested by officers for overstaying the conditions of his visa.

This is the latest in a series of such raids undertaken by the Border Agency and the PSNI.

A sham marriage typically occurs when a non-European national marries someone from the UK or another country in the European Economic Area, as a means of trying to gain long-term residency and the right to work and claim benefits in this country.

UK Border Agency senior criminal investigator Earl Aiken said: "The Agency is determined to identify marriages that may not be genuine, and where we suspect that may be the case we will investigate.

"We have specialist teams of immigration officers and police working together to investigate cases just like this and ensuring people are not able to benefit from breaking the UK's immigration laws."

See: Charges Follows Sham Marriage In Belfast


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