High Court judge calls for sham-marriage crackdown

Government has ‘duty’ to cut number of fake unions by those trying to evade deportation

The judge’s remarks came as he rejected an attempt by a 45-year-old Algerian man to block his removal from the State because he had married a Hungarian woman, who has long since left the country. Photograph: Getty Images

The judge’s remarks came as he rejected an attempt by a 45-year-old Algerian man to block his removal from the State because he had married a Hungarian woman, who has long since left the country. Photograph: Getty Images

 

The Government has “a clear duty” to try to cut the number of sham marriages taking place by people who are trying to prevent being deported, a High Court judge has declared.

Mr Justice Richard Humphreys’ call was made as he rejected an attempt by a 45-year-old Algerian man to block his removal from the State because he had married a Hungarian woman, who has long since left the country.

The man, who left Algeria 15 years ago, had first claimed that he should not be deported because he feared attack by Islamists if he was sent home, but this application was rejected by the Refugees Application Commissioner.

Five months later, he married the Hungarian national and claimed a right of residency in Ireland on the back of the union because he had married a European Union national.

Such marriages are “a wearingly predictable feature” of deportation cases, in the word of Mr Justice Humphreys, who said that peopled did not earn the right to stay in Ireland merely by going through a ceremony.

‘Statistically improbable’

Immigration Bureau

Forty buildings were searched leading to 11 arrests. Computers, memory devices, and phones were seized along with false identity papers, driving licences, marriage certificates and cash.

Changes made to the Civil Registration Act last August mean that marriage registrars can refuse marriage licences and inform the immigration authorities if they believe a sham marriage is being attempted.

Mr Justice Humphreys, in a separate case, dismissed an asylum appeal by a Nigerian man who was deported last September. In 2015, he married a legally-resident Nigerian woman. She was six months pregnant when he was expelled .

The man evaded the Garda National Immigration Bureau for seven years.

People who married partners who later faced deportation orders had voluntarily put themselves in that situation. Blaming the State was a fundamental denial of personal responsibility, the judge said.