Irish News

Saturday 26 July 2014

€10,000 bogus marriage offer for Latvian girls

Immigrants in cash-for-wedding licence scam

JIM CUSACK

Published 11/05/2008|00:00

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POOR, young Latvian women are being lured to Ireland with promises of up to €10,000 to "marry" illegal immigrants here, men mainly from Pakistan, most of whom are believed to have wives back in their home countries.

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Adverts have been placed in Latvia and, it is believed other Baltic states, seeking women to come to Ireland to marry illegal immigrants over the past two years.

One advert in Latvia stated: "Young unmarried women wanted. Women who would agree to help Indian guys in Dublin with registering marriage on paper (fictitious marriage, popular in Dublin nowadays).

"Everything will be covered, plus you get €1,000, plus room rent covered, plus work offered, plus pocket money, plus course (professional, language) plus other benefits. Also plane ticket costs will be covered. All this is legal!."

Although the advert claimed that "Indian" men were involved, investigations into such marriages by the Garda National Bureau of Investigation (GNIB) found that those involved are all from Pakistan.

A journalist from Latvian newspaper Diena who posed as a possible bride, replied by email to the advert and received a reply stating: "When arriving in Ireland this marriage is not registered right away but only after 3-6 months not earlier, because in Ireland all 'paper formalities' take very long time and after you have submitted an application you must wait for another 3-6 months until that marriage.

"A fictitious marriage is registered, it is a marriage on paper. With this the Indian guy may stay in the territory of Ireland legally because he has registered his marriage with EU citizen. This allows him to stay in Ireland permanently.

"It does not cost anything for the person who is helping, also stamps are not put in passports any more, passport stays clean. Then this marriage is registered in local Irish computer, not in Latvian register. Marriage agreement/ contract is signed and cancelled after a year. No obligations from both sides. This is just a formality. And it is legal process. At present it is a rather popular thing in Ireland (also in other countries eg England, Switzerland and others." the reply said.

"Living conditions are the following -- living in apartments that are shared with other workers. Salary is around €1,500 to €2,000 per month, besides all money stays in your pocket as you do not have to pay for anything (unlike other workers who spend about half of their salary on room, rent, transport etc)," the replying email stated. Last year GNIB found that 500 of 3,000 applications by non-Irish married couples to live here were from failed asylum seekers and that a significant number of others involved arranged marriages with young women from the Baltic states who had replied to the adverts. Gardai also found that 400 of the applications to reside in Ireland based on marriage to an EU citizen were from Pakistanis.

The Department of Justice's Immigration department last year refused 279 of these applicants leave to remain here despite their claims of rights of residence because of marriage to an EU citizen. Immigration "rights" groups last year criticised the Department's decision to refuse leave to some of these men to remain here.

The Latvian authorities are apparently amazed at Ireland's lax controls over arranged or bogus marriages.

Last month, Latvian police said that they have been informed by the garda that such "marriages" are "not a crime" in Ireland.

The Head of the State Police Organised Crime Enforcement Department, Arturs Vaisla, told the Diena newspaper: "There are countries that treat such cases irresponsibly. If it had happened here we could have put them in prison."

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