Although it’s hardly ever discussed, Marriage Fraud is still a major issue facing many countries. Fraudulent Marriages account for approximately 30% of the application to Marry VISA (from Immigration and Customs Enforcement), which means every year there are thousands of people committing to get hitched for life with someone they don’t even love and it’s generally just to get permanent residency to another country.
In America, this can result in five years jail time, as well as a fine of $250,000.
Believe it or not, the implications of Marriage fraud affect everyone, not just those involved; so here’s four things you should know about it
1. It Can Cause Heartbreak
Marriage fraud can also occur through online romance scams. This is where people (generally living overseas) target vulnerable people (including widowers) and starting ‘dating’ them via the internet. This ‘relationship’ then escalates with the scammer asking to loan money and suggesting they meet to get Married. Once they’ve tied the knot and the VISA is approved, they’ll generally leave the other person in a trail of heartache.
2. It Costs Us Money
In Australia alone, Marriage and partner VISA scams cost taxpayers $130 million a year in welfare payments. This is money that could be put towards other causes including education and health care.
3. It’s Big Business
There’s unfortunately big money to be made from Marriage fraud, with reports that people pay Australian citizens more than $10,000 to Marry them solely for the purpose of gaining a VISA.
4. It’s Not Always Black and White
Although it’s easy to label every case of Marriage fraud as ‘bad’, or ‘wrong’ some situations are a complex issue of human rights. There are cases of desperate people using a fake Marriage to make a better life for them and their family and they simply can’t get a VISA any other way.