MINISTER FOR SOCIAL Protection Joan Burton has said her department is working on legislation to combat ‘sham marriages’, or marriages of convenience.
These are marriages entered into for the purpose of one of the parties gaining automatic residency rights.
In response to a parliamentary question from TD Denis Naughten, Burton said that the matter is a “complex one”.
“EU citizens and their families have the right to move and reside freely within the territories of the Member States,” she said.
She said these right also apply to non-EU national spouses of EU nationals following a ruling of the European Court of Justice in 2008.
“My department has been considering this issue and has met with a number of stakeholders with a view to introducing measures to combat marriages of convenience,” she said. “In this regard, I intend to introduce legislation shortly that will make such marriages far more difficult to contract in the future.”
“It should also be noted there are, at present, guidelines for registrars for marriage notifications containing requirements concerning notification procedures, including the verification of identity and marital status which can assist in the prevention of marriages of convenience,” she added.
The minister said she hoped to publish the legislation later this year.