Exclusive: Home Office sleuths accused of demanding insinuate sexual items and halting genuine weddings
Genuine couples are being prevented from getting married and are subjected to ” insult” and “gruelling” checks as part of a government crackdown on sham wedlocks, a Guardian investigation has found.
Couples and advocates described uniting ceremonies being interrupted so that the Home Office could question people about their sex lives, an official finding a nude drawing on a person’s phone and showing it to others in the room, and daybreak raids carried out to check if pairs were sharing a bed.
In one case, a pair were told their relationship could not be genuine because they were wearing pyjamas in berthed. In others, parties have been detained for months after being incorrectly accused of entering into a imitation marriage.
In recent years the government has became it more difficult for migrants to wed in the UK, in an effort to stop people using marriage to UK or EU citizens as a means to remain in the country.
Since changes to the law in 2015, registrars requires them to report to the Main office whenever most categories of migrants give notice of marriage. The Main office was given dominances to delay nuptials for up to 70 epoches to allow for investigations.
Information obtained by the Guardian through a freedom of information request demo registrars moved 2,868 segment 24 reports- which alert the authorities to a potential imitation marriage- in 2018, a 40% rise from 2,038 in 2014. Advocates said registrars has now become” infected with the culture of the unfriendly medium “.
Of those reports last year, 1,618( 56%) were seen worthy of investigation, are comparable to 1,439( 58%) in 2015. The Home office rejecting to share data on the number of members of weddings determined to be shams.
Nath Gbikpi, of Wesley Gryk Solicitors, said the government’s approaching to migrant wedlocks needed to be seen as part of its unfriendly surrounding plan.” The Main office has put itself in a position where it can prevent a sincere duo, whom they agree to be in a genuine tie-in, to get married ,” she said.
One couple, Qasim, 29, from Pakistan, and Debora, 33, from Portugal, were asleep at home when they were raided by four officials in January 2016.” We were questioned separately about our relationship and then Qasim was arrested, taken away and locked up in detention for four months before the Home Office finally accepted that our relationship was genuine ,” Debora said.
” I was in a state of sicken and trauma all the time I was in detention ,” said Qasim.” It was very insulting that the Home office came inside our home to check that everything was assembled .”
Another couple who attempted permission to marry were told their relationship would not be investigated, exclusively to have their wedding ceremony interrupted by officials, according to a statement submitted to their advocates and provided to the Guardian.
The statement said the couple were taken into separate chambers and asked about their sexuality lives, including detailed information about sexual positions and contraception. The lady was so distressed that partway through the interrogation she refused to answer any more questions. The Home office officials then halted the ceremony and swore the wedlock to be sham.
The couple, who are still together, were so humbled that they did not tell their reception clients that the union had not been permitted to go ahead, instead continue providing the episode and pretending to celebrate.
In another case, a lesbian duo were invited to participate in a Main office reporting centre for an interview after they requested permission to enter into a civil partnership. The duo were questioned separately, the British husband for 90 hours and his Thai marriage for five hours.
The Home office asked to scrutinize the couple’s telephones and determined an email sent by the Thai man many years before to a former collaborator, which included a naked photo of himself. This photo was shown to everyone in the interview room, leaving the man feeling humiliated, the couple said.
” He described the whole experience as disgusting ,” the British serviceman said.” They grilled him in a exceedingly vigorous room that he found exceedingly outraging .” The migration case was eventually inferred a few months ago in the couple’s favour.
The Main office declined to comment on individual cases.
Poppy Firmin, a caseworker at Duncan Lewis Solicitors, said:” Numerous beings go through the asylum process unrepresented. In the meantime you can’t work, you often can’t analyze, and then you may or may not be permitted to marry. Or you may be detained after your marriage ceremony is gatecrashed by Main office officials. It’s very degrade .”
Elizabeth Ruddick, of Wilsons Solicitors, said:” Home office officials may came to see your residence early in the morning and check up on the number of toothbrushes … The Home office has the right to interfere each step of the practice, and some registrars have become infected with the culture of the hostile context .”
A Main office spokesman said the government was focused on ensuring that pedigree movement was based on a sincere relation.” Registrars are given comprehensive evidence-based guidance on environments that may elevate doubts about a wedding, such as particular actions and the level of information one party knows about another ,” the spokesperson said.” It would then be for Home Office immigration officials to decide whether or not to investigate further .”