Hundreds of Portuguese women fly overseas for lucrative “sham marriages”

Hundreds of Portuguese women fly overseas for lucrative “sham marriages”

The destination is Ireland. Hundreds of Portuguese women are reported to be involved in lucrative “sham marriage scams”. This year alone, 300 have been identified flying in to Ireland to “tie the knot” with immigrant men – mostly from India and Pakistan – in return for payments of around €5,000.
It’s a trade that used to be run by Latvian gangs – but as these have been rounded up, the Portuguese have stepped in.
In a report in the Irish Independent this week, a source claims the women are almost all “from poor backgrounds”, and see the opportunity as the way to make a financial “killing”.
Most are in their mid-20s and believed to return to Portugal within days of the transaction, said the source.
As talks are reported to be underway with Portuguese authorities “to help combat the abuse”, an official told the Independent that it was “very difficult to criminalise the act of marriage” in Ireland, as it is “constitutionally protected”.
Nonetheless, applications for residency on the basis of marriage to an EU national have skyrocketed.
“In 2001, there were 20,” reports the paper. “But the total increased to 2,700 within nine years.”
The men entering into these marriages are invariably foreigners who have outstayed their visas, and if not from India and Pakistan, tend to be from Nigeria.
Now the best means of combating sham marriages is “a combination of legislation, intensive investigation and co-operation across EU governments”, said the official.
The news comes as the whole immigration debate – particularly in the United Kingdom – is in the spotlight.