National campaign against sham marriages results in five immediate arrests

A national campaign against sham marriages has resulted in five arrests today and yesterday. As a result of the campaign, an assessment is being made in 42 administrative law cases as to whether a residence permit can be withdrawn and criminal prosecution will follow. Targeted checks were carried out in 48 cases throughout the country involving people who were suspected of entering into or facilitating a sham marriage. The campaign involved simultaneous interviews, address checks and visits to workplaces.

The police, the Public Prosecution Service, the Immigration and Naturalisation Service (IND), municipal councils, the Inspectorate SZW and the Repatriation and Departure Service (DT&V) worked closely together during the national campaign against sham marriages. Combating sham marriages is a priority for the government. State Secretary Dijkhoff (Security and Justice) is pleased with the collaboration between the agencies involved in tackling sham marriages.

Criminal activities

A sham marriage is a marriage which is primarily entered into in order to gain residence in the Netherlands. Reasons for entering into a sham marriage range from friendship or family ties through to financial motives or even duress. Facilitating and entering into sham marriages may be linked to criminal activities such as people smuggling and human trafficking. Sham marriages therefore result in victims. Sham marriages also cost our society money. People who enter into a sham marriage can unlawfully take advantage of social provisions and benefits.

Measures

Abuse of the immigration regulations will not be tolerated and criminal activities will be punished through measures such as the withdrawal of residence permits, deportation and criminal prosecution. State Secretary Dijkhoff: "Sham marriages are a problem. We need to work together to combat sham marriages and the criminal activities associated with them."

The Immigration and Naturalisation Service (IND) is achieving good results in tackling sham marriages concluded between EU citizens resident in the Netherlands and people from outside the EU. If a sham marriage is suspected, people are interviewed simultaneously. 200 residence permits were rejected on the basis of this approach in 2014.

Multidisciplinary Team

The police, the Public Prosecution Service, the Immigration and Naturalisation Service (IND), municipal councils, the Inspectorate SZW and the Repatriation and Departure Service (DT&V) work together in one multidisciplinary team to effectively combat sham marriages. These campaign days are a good example of the chain-wide approach to migration fraud, and help to ensure the stricter monitoring of possible sham marriages.