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New guidelines on 'sham marriages' introduced

ID and ambassadorial approval now required for non EU citizens marrying in Ireland after EU pressure.

NEW GUIDELINES FOR marriage registrars have been introduced by the government in an attempt to stop the rise in numbers of suspected ‘sham marriages’.

Identification is now to be required after “intense lobbying” was conducted by other EU member states after the rise in suspected bogus marriages between eastern European women and non-EU nationals, reports The Irish Times.

All foreign birth certificates will also require an official stamp or letter of approval to confirm its authenticity. Restrictions on the number of people allowed into the registrar’s office during a marriage are also introduced, as is a ruling on interpreters. Interpreters must be from a verified company.

The ‘sham marriages’ are carried out to get around Irish immigration law and the new guidelines follow similar rulings made in other EU countries.

Sixteen people were arrested this year up to July for involvement in the marriages, as reported by RTE. Last year the Irish government alerted their Latvian counterparts of the high number of Latvians marrying Pakistani and Bangladeshi nationals.

The Latvian Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a statement earlier this year, in which they detail their frustratuion with the Irish authorities.

“In spite of all efforts of the Latvian and other EU states’ embassies in Dublin, the feedback from competent Irish authorities is minimal. We started a police investigation in 2006 and contacted the Garda but they kept silent. We called the Irish Embassy in Riga. There was an answer that in Ireland a ‘sham marriage’ is not a specific crime.”

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