Certificate of approval scheme to be scrapped

Green: We’ll “not tolerate immigration abuse, including sham marriages”

The certificate of approval scheme is to be scrapped. The Home Office had been using the scheme to help minimise the occurrences of sham marriages. The scheme meant people not legally permanently settled in the UK needed Home Office permission to marry in the country.

But in 2008, Law Lords ruled that the powers discriminated against foreign nationals on human rights grounds. And changes made following subsequent court rulings have weakened the scheme, meaning that it is no longer an effective method of countering the practice of sham marriage.

The Home Office has therefore confirmed that the certificate of approval scheme will be scrapped shortly. Sham marriages are usually attempted as a way of gaining long-term residency and the right to work and claim benefits. They involve situations where a non-European national marries someone from the European Economic Area, including the UK.

Immigration Minister Damian Green said they’ll “not tolerate immigration abuse, including sham marriages.”