A visa that will let you live and work in Britain indefinitely is worth a lot of money to a lot of people around the world – and, as a result, the sham marriage industry is booming.
Exposure sent an undercover reporter to find out more about the thriving industry. From alleged fixers offering a young women as a fake bride for £10,000, to talk of fake passports and a clandestine meeting with an underground “Mr Big”, we see a system failing to keep up.
In March this year new rules were introduced to tighten up regulations and cut the number of sham marriages taking place in Britain.
Featuring undercover filming, How to Buy Your Way into Britain reveals that despite the promised Government crackdown, racketeers are seemingly still making millions by organising sham marriages, forging passports and human trafficking. One team of alleged fixers is filmed describing fake brides as “puppets” and boasting about the number of illegal weddings they are able to organise every year.
They openly admit that they couldn’t care less about the change in the law, and plan to carry on regardless, exploiting vulnerable women and making huge amounts of cash at the taxpayers’ expense. One says: “It’s too soft here, the system… This whole game is peanuts”. Our investigation moves from the small-time to the big, culminating with a meeting with “Malik”, a man, the undercover journalist is told, whose operation is apparently very big indeed. When he turns up with “Julie”, a 23-year-old Romanian woman, it is in a black car with the number plates removed.
Nazir Afzal, an eminent lawyer and a former CPS chief crown prosecutor, who saw the footage, said: “All of it is criminal… And it demonstrates how big a scale of the problem we face.”
All those involved deny the accusations.