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Gerard Depardieu and Andie MacDowell in marriage-of-convenience comedy 'Green Card'.
new rule

Couples suspected of entering sham marriages in Ireland will be investigated

The Registrar will now be able to investigate couples and report them to immigration services.

Updated at 3pm

NEW MEASURES HAVE been introduced to prevent marriages of convenience taking place in Ireland.

From today the Office of the Registrar General has been given more extensive powers to prevent the institution of marriage being abused for immigration purposes.

In recent years trends have emerged that indicate ‘sham marriages’ are on the rise in Ireland.

These marriages consist of a non-EEA national marrying someone from within the EU for the purpose of having their permission to remain in the country extended.

An unexpectedly high occurrence rate of marriages between women from Eastern Europe and Portugal, and men from the Indian subcontinent has been noted.

What sorts of new powers will be in place? 

The Registrar will now have the power to to investigate a couple prior to agreeing to a marriage.

Basing its opinion on evidence available from both parties, the body has the right to refuse a marriage registration form if they feel that a marriage is not legitimate.

The Registrar can then report information to the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service of the Department of Justice and Equality.

Reaction

Speaking today, Minister for Justice, Frances Fitzgerald, said:

In addition to EU Free Movement rights, the right to marry in Ireland is also protected in the Constitution. The reality is though, that in some cases these rights are abused. The abuse of the institution of marriage, for immigration purposes, cannot and will not be tolerated.

The Minister went on to say that she was concerned that sham marriages were leading to a proliferation of women being trafficked into Ireland for this purpose.

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