Data Sources for Evidence Base
Provided to the Commission |
Both sets of evidence provided to the
Commission are attached below. Full details of sources are provided
within the documents themselves. However, for convenience, the
full range of sources is listed below:
ONS Labour Market Statistics
ONS National Insurance Number allocations
to adult overseas nationals entering the UK
Internal data on Section 24 reports
received by the Home Office (which are one indicator of suspected
Details of specific sham marriage facilitation
Details of high-profile sham marriage
Volumes of ongoing sham marriage operations
in the North-West region
A sampling exercise of cases processed
by a Home Office casework team (week commencing 7 October 2013)
A Home Office internal study of abusive
applications for EEA family permits
Home Office management information on
abuse of European Union documentation
Home Office enforced removal statistics
(estimated and subject to caveats)
Ministry of Justice statistics on nationalities
of the UK prison population (data subject to caveats)
Qualitative evidence and operational
knowledge through case-study reporting by Immigration Enforcement
Teams and the Police
Volumes of correspondence on free movement
abuse received by the Home Office
Details of Operation Golf cases
Europol report: "Trafficking of
Human Beings in the European Union"
Child Exploitation and Online Protection
Centre report (October 2010)]
Council of the Baltic Sea States (CBSS)
report on Children trafficked for exploitation in begging and
criminality (February 2013)
Evidence of Fraud and Abuse of
Free Movement in the UK (Submitted to the Commission on 16 September
In view of the proposed discussion at the Justice
and Home Affairs Council on 5 December, this note sets out evidence
of fraud and abuse of free movement rights.
The UK considers that at present the legal provisions
available to Member States in tackling abuse and fraud of free
movement are not sufficient to effectively deal with the issue.
The UK has raised concerns at attempts to downplay the problems
cited as not being serious or widespread. Claims that abuse of
free movement is not widespread ignore the reality that such abuse
exists, and if not dealt with effectively is likely to increase.
The UK considers that the fact that such abuse is possible
under current conditions is sufficient to warrant effective action.
The existence of serious fraud and abuse of free movement also
has a serious and deleterious impact on the public perception
of free movement.
The issue of fraud and abuse in free movement presents
a cost to the UK in terms of fraudulently claimed social security
benefits and access to public services, such as education and
healthcare by giving access to persons who are not genuinely entitled
to such services. It also serves to undermine the UK immigration
system, providing a route for persons who wish to circumvent legitimate
immigration control to fraudulently claim a right of residence.
However, it should above all be acknowledged that
the organised fraud and abuse in free movement of persons often
involves a vulnerable EU national victim who is tricked, coerced
or forced into taking part in the fraud for the financial gain
of others. Examples of this are set out below. The UK considers
that a failure to acknowledge and address legitimate concerns
regarding organised fraud and abuse of free movement not only
damages the concept of free movement, but neglects the rights
of vulnerable EU nationals to be protected from such exploitation.
The Commission has previously asserted that the evidence
provided by some Member States about identified abuse shows that
national authorities are making use of the powers to detect, investigate
and sanction cases of abuse. However, this view fails to acknowledge
the effect of the limitations on Member States to effectively
prevent such abuse from occurring. For example, in one of the
cases below involving organised benefit fraud, an estimated £2.9million
in social security benefits was paid out by the UK authorities
in fraudulent claims. While a successful prosecution was brought
against the perpetrators, in reality the UK is likely to reclaim
only a small proportion of the money claimed. Furthermore, the
resources required to investigate and take action in such cases
2. Marriages of Convenience
It is a long-established area of abuse
for non-EU nationals to enter into a marriage of convenience or
'sham marriage' in order to gain a right to remain in the UK,
either by marrying a UK national or settled person and seeking
leave to remain under the Immigration Rules, or by entering into
a sham marriage with an EU citizen and fraudulently claiming a
right of residence under Directive 2004/38/EC.
The option of applying for documentation
as the family member of an EU citizen presents the more attractive
option for persons seeking to circumvent the UK Immigration Rules.
This is due to a number of factors, including the considerably
lower fee attached to the application and the limitations placed
on Member States in terms of the evidence that can be required
from family members of EU citizens.
For example, whereas a spouse of a British
citizen will have to submit evidence of cohabitation, evidence
that the relationship is genuine and subsisting and also demonstrate
that the British citizen meets the minimum income requirement
in order to support the applicant, a person applying as the spouse
of an EU citizen can simply submit an EU ID card, a marriage certificate
and evidence that the EU citizen is exercising free movement rights
in order to qualify for a document. This means that the EU route
has become the route of choice for those seeking to frustrate
UK immigration control.
There is significant evidence to suggest
that the phenomenon of sham marriage is linked with serious organised
criminal activity. Three high-profile cases of organised sham
marriage conspiracies are set out at Appendix A of this document.
It should be noted that evidence of new sham marriage 'rings'
comes to the attention of the UK authorities on an ongoing basis,
requiring investigation and often enforcement action. In the North
West region of the UK alone, there are currently 15 ongoing operations
investigating sham marriage rings and a further 8 such operations
in development. These operations place considerable demand on
the resources of the UK authorities.
While in many cases the EU citizen who
enters into a marriage of convenience may take part willingly
for financial gain, the UK authorities are aware of a significant
number of cases where the EU citizen is a victim of exploitation.
This can be because the EU citizen is targeted as particularly
vulnerable due to their personal or financial circumstances, or
in some cases is a victim of a deliberate scam designed to place
them in such a position.
In the case of the conspiracy led by
Reverend Alex Brown (see Appendix A for details of this case),
many of the cases involved women from Eastern EU countries who
had responded to advertisements placed in their home countries
for work in the UK town of Hastings. These adverts were in fact
placed by Reverend Brown's co-conspirator Vladimir Buchak, who
lured the women to the UK and arranged low-paid employment and
accommodation which placed them in unsatisfactory financial situations,
often creating a 'debt' to Buchak for his assistance. Buchak would
then exploit the circumstances he had manufactured by coercing
the women to take part in sham marriages for money.
Some cases involve more serious exploitation
of EU citizens, as a recent case in the UK highlighted. The case
involved a Slovakian woman of Roma descent who was kidnapped while
on a night out in Hungary and trafficked to the UK for the purpose
of being forced into a sham marriage. The marriage was contracted
in order that the 'husband', Pakistani national Azam Khan, could
undermine his impending deportation from the UK. Khan was convicted
in October 2013 on charges of arranging to bring a person to the
UK for exploitation, false imprisonment, rape and common assault.
Four other people were convicted of various offences committed
against the woman, including sexual assault, false imprisonment
and human trafficking (see Appendix B for the Lancashire Police
press release relating to this case).
The UK authorities are currently undertaking
interviews for persons applying for residence cards on the basis
of marriage to an EU citizen where reasonable grounds exist to
suspect the marriage is one of convenience. Two case studies from
these interviews are set out at Appendix C of this document. These
case studies have been anonymised in order to protect the EU citizens
involved, and due to the ongoing investigation into these cases.
Case study 1 of this Appendix highlights the case of a vulnerable
EU national who was targeted by facilitators and who was left
distressed by her experience.
It is clear that many EU citizens involved
in sham marriage are victims of coercion or deception by the criminal
gangs who facilitate these conspiracies. It is therefore imperative
that this issue is correctly framed not just as a matter of the
facilitation of immigration crime, but of the exploitation of
vulnerable EU citizens for the financial gain of criminal gangs.
3. Proxy Marriage
Some countries provide for marriage
ceremonies to be conducted 'by proxy', meaning that one, or in
some cases both, of the parties to the marriage ('double proxy')
can nominate a person to represent them at the ceremony. The specific
arrangements and requirements for proxy marriage ceremonies vary
according to the territory in which the marriage is contracted.
The UK authorities consider that it
would be reasonable to expect that circumstances requiring a couple
to be married in this way would be relatively rare, particularly
in cases of a double proxy ceremony. Examples of such circumstances
could be where one party is on military service, is incarcerated
or is unable to travel due to serious health issues.
Where the two parties are residing in
the UK, there are unlikely to be any circumstances under
which it would be necessary to contract a proxy marriage. Provided
that the two parties are free to marry under the terms of the
UK Marriage Act (a requirement which would also apply when considering
whether a marriage contracted elsewhere is valid under UK law),
there would be no impediment to contracting a genuine marriage
between an EU citizen and a third country national, irrespective
of those persons' immigration status.
The UK authorities therefore consider
it is reasonable to suggest that the primary motivation behind
a decision for such parties to contract a marriage in these circumstances
is either to avoid the scrutiny of UK registrars, who may raise
concerns with the UK authorities where there are reasons to suspect
that a marriage is one of convenience, or that the EU national
is in fact not in the UK as claimed and therefore it is not possible
to contract a marriage in the UK.
The UK authorities consider that they
encounter a disproportionately high number of proxy marriage certificates
in applications for residence cards as evidence of relationship
to an EU national compared to what could reasonably be expected.
A sample of 200 European casework decisions by one casework team
in the week commencing 7th October 2013 showed a total
of 12 proxy marriage certificates submitted in support of residence
card applications. This is in comparison to 64 non-proxy marriage
certificates received for such applications in the same period.
(See Appendix D for breakdown of sampling exercise). In the sample
selected, proxy marriage certificates represented 16% of all marriage
certificates submitted in residence card applications.
Due to the concerns raised over the
practice of submitting proxy marriage certificates as evidence
of relationship, the UK authorities have dedicated considerable
resources to assessing the genuineness of these certificates.
This has included working with the authorities in the relevant
countries to establish the criteria for contracting such marriages
and for guidance on assessing the veracity of the documents submitted.
As a result, the UK authorities have identified a number of such
documents as fraudulent; either as a counterfeit document, or
as a genuine document which has been obtained fraudulently.
A recent investigation into a series
of applications submitted by the same firm of legal representatives
uncovered a pattern of abusive applications. Nationals from one
non-EU country (country A) submitted applications as spouses of
nationals of one EU country (country B). The applications included
a proxy marriage certificate showing that a marriage between the
two parties was contracted in country A, an EU ID card from country
B and evidence of employment for the EU national. The EU ID cards
were found in all cases to be either counterfeit documents of
genuine EU ID cards, or genuine ID cards which had been reported
lost or stolen. The evidence of employment was also found to be
fraudulent. (See section 5 below for further details on these
Such cases highlight the ease with which
an EU citizen may become a victim of identity fraud and unwittingly
'sponsor' a non-EU national to reside in the UK without their
knowledge, as a proxy marriage does not require the presence of
the EU national (or indeed the non-EU national) at the ceremony.
4. Benefit Fraud, crime and trafficking.
The document included at Appendix E
is a freedom of information request response from the Metropolitan
Police listing all press releases from that force in relation
to 'Operation Golf', a joint operation between UK and Romanian
police which was partly funded by the European Commission.
Operation Golf was established in September
2008 following the discovery that over 1,000 children had been
trafficked by a Romanian gang from the town of Tanderai for the
purpose of exploitation through forced criminality, including
theft, organised begging and benefit fraud.
The cases listed in the freedom of information
response include the following:
A gang involved in a £2.9million
benefit fraud scam in which false claims for UK benefits were
facilitated by a Romanian gang.
Cases involving child trafficking
for the purposes of benefit fraud and child exploitation, including
children being forced to beg.
The phenomenon of child trafficking
for the purpose of exploiting benefits systems in EU member states
is highlighted in the Europol Knowledge Product "Trafficking
in Human Beings in the European Union", which states "Current
reporting indicates that social security, welfare and benefits
systems are being targeted by traffickers using trafficked children
to support and justify claims linked to family and housing benefits.
This is in addition to the commission of street crime offences
and the involvement of trafficked children in the production,
manufacture and supply of controlled drugs".
A link to this report is included at Appendix F of this document.
The October 2010 report on the trafficking
of children into and within the UK for benefit fraud purposed
by the Child Exploitation and Online Protection (CEOP) Centre
refers to Romanian Roma children being exploited in this way.
In its conclusion, the report highlights that while there is a
common perception of benefit fraud as an economic crime with the
only victim being the state, fraudulent claims of this nature
involved children being trafficked, neglected and treated as a
commodity to be used for financial gain. The report also highlighted
that children who underwent this type of exploitation were reported
as appearing traumatised, and that there was some evidence to
suggest that the children were mistreated and neglected.
A link to this report can be found at Appendix G of this document.
The report by the Council of the Baltic
Sea States (CBSS) entitled "Children trafficked for exploitation
in begging and criminality" (enclosed at Appendix H of this
document) refers to similar patterns reported in the Baltic EU
Member States, and demonstrates that the phenomenon of vulnerable
children being trafficked across the EU to be exploited in this
way is by no means limited to the UK.
In addition to the work undertaken in
Operation Golf, there have been a number of other high-profile
cases of human trafficking for the purposes of exploiting the
UK benefits system. On 2 November 2013, 29 people were arrested
in Poland and two people arrested in London following a joint
operation by the Metropolitan Police, Her Majesty's Revenue and
Customs and Polish police. (See Appendix I for press release on
Enquiries found that the Poland-based
gang had lured at least 230 Polish victims, many of whom had mental
health or substance abuse problems, to come to the UK by promising
them work. Instead, the victims were tricked into opening bank
accounts, into which fraudulently-claimed benefits would be paid.
The money would subsequently be emptied from the accounts by the
gang, leaving the victims destitute. This case is currently ongoing
in the UK courts.
It is clear that criminal gangs exploit
the free movement rights of EU citizens in order to facilitate
significant fraud against the UK benefits system. Far from being
simply a financial crime, this type of abuse has serious consequences
for the EU citizens who fall victim of these gangs.
5. Fraudulent documents
Of the fraudulent identity and travel
documents encountered by the UK authorities at borders and ports,
a consistently large majority are fraudulent EU (and EEA) documentation.
The table below shows the proportion of detected document fraud
at UK borders and ports. The documents referred to are documents
presented as evidence of EU/EEA identity which are either forged,
counterfeit or presented by an 'impostor'.
||Total Number of fraudulent documents detected
||Total number of EU/EEA fraudulent documents detected
A non-EU national presenting a fraudulent
document relies on free movement rights to which they are not
entitled. In addition to the documents detected at UK borders
and ports, the UK authorities also encounter fraudulent EU/EEA
documents in applications for documentation confirming a right
of residence for persons residing in the UK.
Two such patterns of abuse were identified
by European casework teams and were subject to a 'pilot' study.
Caseworkers identified that a number of similar applications were
received where the EU document was either counterfeit, or a genuine
document which had been reported lost or stolen.
In the first pattern identified, 21
individual applications were received from nationals of one of
two non-EEA countries with the following features;
· The applicants had been issued
leave to remain in the UK under the Immigration Rules as non-EU
students, and their leave had either expired, had been revoked,
or was due to expire in the near future.
· The applicants submitted
applications for registration certificates in the same identity,
presenting themselves as EU nationals exercising free movement
· The majority of the documents
submitted were counterfeit passports from one particular Member
State. The UK is aware that further counterfeit passports of the
same poor quality have been detected within that Member State.
Almost all of the applicants were from
the same non-EU country.
In a separate pattern of abuse identified,
the casework teams encountered 17 applications submitted by a
single firm of solicitors with similar features as follows:
· The applicants applied for
residence cards as the family member of EU nationals
· The applicants were from
the same non-EU country in all 11 applications, and the claimed
EU national family members were all nationals of the same Member
· the EU ID card or passport
submitted was either counterfeit or a genuine document which had
been reported lost or stolen
· in almost all cases, the
marriage certificate submitted stated that a proxy marriage had
been conducted in the non-EU country of which the applicant was
· The evidence submitted to
demonstrate that the EU national was exercising free movement
rights was found to be fraudulent (variously including forged
bank statements or wage slips, the claimed employed have no record
of the applicant, or no evidence that the claimed employer actually
· All applicants were in the
UK without a legal basis for their stay; some had entered on visit
visas and overstayed, one was a failed asylum seeker and several
had submitted new passports issued in London with no evidence
of how or when they had entered the UK.
One of the applicants in this group
of cases had made two previous unsuccessful applications for a
residence card, with each of the three applications being based
on a relationship with a different EU citizen.
It is clear that some persons who are
not entitled to a right of residence under EU law seek to abuse
the principle of free movement through the abuse of EU identity
documents, either by claiming to be the family member of an EU
national who has in fact had their ID documents stolen or counterfeited,
or by presenting themselves as EU nationals through such practices.
Appendix A Sham Marriage
Reverend Alex Brown, Church of St.
Peter and St. Paul, St, Leonards, East Sussex September
Reverend Alex Brown, solicitor Michael
Adelasoye and Vladimir Buchak were convicted of facilitation of
commission of breaches of immigration law and were each sentenced
to 4 years imprisonment.
The case against the men involved 360
'sham' marriages, the majority involving female EU citizens and
non-EU national males who had exhausted their right of appeal
under the UK Immigration Rules. The EU citizens received up to
£3,000 to take part in the sham marriages. The non-EU national
males would then seek to rely on their sham marriage for a right
of residence in the UK under EU law.
Many of the EU citizens involved were
women from Eastern European countries who had responded to an
advertisement encouraging them to come to the town of Hastings
to work. They were then befriended by Buchak (a Ukrainian national
posing as an Estonian national) ho arranged employment and places
in shared accommodation for the EU citizens. Buchak would then
pressure the EU citizens to take part in sham marriages, playing
on their financial vulnerability.
The Home Office news story on this can
be found at the following link:
Reverend Brian Shipsides, All Saints
Church, Forest Gate, London April 2012
Reverend Brian Shipsides and Amudalat
Lapido were convicted for conspiring to arrange sham marriages
for the purposes of circumventing United Kingdom Immigration Law
and sentences to four and a half years and three years imprisonment
The case against the pair involved the
arrangement of 193 sham marriages between May 2009 and July 2010,
sometimes conducting as many as seven such marriages in a single
day. In his sentencing remarks, the presiding Judge stated that
Rev. Shipside controlled every aspect of the parochial arrangements
for the weddings, from visit letters, identification documents,
the reading of the banns and the register of marriages.
The Judge stated that Amudalat Lapido
was labelled by the prosecution as a 'marriage fixer' who was
involved in planning the weddings, gathering the necessary documentation
(some of it bogus), and booking flights for EEA nationals to attend
The sham marriages were arranged between
EEA nationals and non-EEA nationals, the majority of whom went
on to submit applications for residence documentation from the
UK authorities shortly afterwards. The EEA nationals were often
flown in for the ceremony, returning home afterwards.
Reverend Shipside was subsequently ordered
to pay £10,792 under the Proceeds of Crime Act.
The BBC News report on this case can
be found here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-17601286
Maria Loureiro and Ilyas Neki
On 6th March 2013, 11 members of a sham
marriage ring were jailed for a total of more than 18 years at
Manchester Crown Court. Maria Loureiro was found to be one of
the main organisers of the conspiracy and was sentenced to 45
months imprisonment. Evidence put before the court suggested that
Ms. Loureira profited by as much as £27,000, with the Judge
accepting that the real figure could in fact be much higher.
Ms Loureiro was found to have been responsible
for introducing Portuguese woman to the Indian men involved in
the conspiracy. She was paid to arrange the weddings, attended
at airports and immigration appeal hearings, attend notice of
intention to marry interviews and the wedding ceremonies themselves,
on occasion employing a disguise or a false identity.
Ilyas Neki was convicted alongside Maria
Loureiro. Mr Neki acted as a facilitator between the Indian men
and Ms Loureiro. Mr Neki was sentenced to 32 months imprisonment.
The Judge found that the cases involved
EEA national women being flown from Portugal to the UK on flights
paid for by Ms Loureiro. Once in the UK, the women would obtain
a national insurance number, have some involvement in making arrangements
for the wedding at the register office and then return to Portugal.
The women would then return to the UK for the wedding. The 9 Indian
'grooms' sentenced in this case were either nearing the end of
their leave to remain under the Immigration Rules, had overstayed
their leave or had applied unsuccessfully to extend their leave.
Each pair of brides and grooms were
provided with a crib sheet giving basic personal information,
and documents such as utility bills in their joint names and sometimes
debit cards in the name of the bride. All of this information
was intended as evidence of a relationship between the brides
and grooms which in reality did not exist. In all but one case,
the brides and grooms did not live together, nor was there any
kind of wedding reception following the ceremony.
The UK Border Agency news report on
this case can be found here: https://contact-ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/sitecontent/newsarticles/2013/march/17-sham-gang-jailed
Lancashire Police Press Release dated
Five guilty of trafficking Slovakian
woman to Bradford and Burnley
FOUR men and one woman have today been
found guilty of people trafficking for exploitation following
an eight week trial at Preston Crown Court.
Imrich Bodor, 45, and Petra Dzudzova,
25, both of Clipstone Street, Bradford, Abdul Sabool Shinwary,
38 of Washington Street, Bradford and have all been found guilty
of people trafficking for exploitation under section 4 of the
Asylum and Immigration Act 2004.
Nusrat Khan, 40, of Colne Road, Burnley
has been found guilty of false imprisonment.
Azam Khan, 33, of Brougham Street, Burnley
has been found guilty of people trafficking, three offences of
rape, assault and false imprisonment.
Kristina Makunova, 37 of Girlington
Road, Bradford pleaded guilty to people trafficking for exploitation
during the first week of the trial.
All will be sentenced by HHJ Gibson
tomorrow, 10th October.
On Saturday, 20th October 2012, police
received an anonymous call to report that a 20 year old Slovakian
woman was being held against her will at a property in the Daneshouse
area of Burnley.
The woman was rescued by officers from
an address on Colne Road, the home address of Nusrat Khan, and
disclosed that she had been kidnapped in Slovakia and brought
into the UK where she was subsequently exploited.
"This is a case of modern day slavery.
The victim in this case has been trafficked into and within the
UK, sold, subjected to assaults, rape and further sold for marriage."
DI Neil Howarth
A police investigation revealed that
she had been brought into the UK by Imrich Bodor and kept in the
Bradford area by him and Petra Dzudzova before being sold to Abdul
Shinwary. Shinwary then sold the victim to Azam Khan, who is the
nephew of Nusrat Khan.
She was then married to Azam Khan in
a Nikah ceremony at a Burnley Mosque on 13th October 2012
at a time when he was due to be deported to Pakistan, after being
refused leave to remain in the UK.
Azam Khan was arrested in October 2012
for offences relating to the trafficking of his victim, alongside
his relatives, Mashrafat and Nusrat Khan. Azam Khan was subsequently
charged with rape, assault and false imprisonment and remanded
Following a number of search warrants
executed in Bradford in December 2012, Imrich Bodor, 45, Petra
Dzudzova, 25, Abdul Sabool Shinwary, 38 and Kristina Makunova,
37, were arrested, subsequently charged and remanded with human
Nusrat Khan, 40, and Mashrafat Khan,
61 were re interviewed on 29th January 2013 and subsequently charged
with trafficking for exploitation contrary to section 4 of the
Asylum and Immigration Act 2004. The case against Mashrafat Khan
was subsequently dismissed at court on 16th September and Nusrat
Khan has been convicted of false imprisonment.
The victim returned home to Slovakia
in January 2013 with the assistance of the Slovakian authorities
and Caritas, Slovakian catholic charity. However, officers travelled
to Slovakia and escorted her back to the UK, in order to give
Detective Inspector Neil Howarth said:
"This is a case of modern day slavery. The victim in this
case has been trafficked into and within the UK, sold, subjected
to assaults, rape and further sold for marriage.
"During police interviews
it became apparent that she had been brought to the UK against
her will on a coach in August 2012. She had been prostituted against
her will, physically assaulted, prevented from leaving the company
of persons associated to her, had her travel documents taken from
her, sold into marriage and raped.
"Someone within the community raised
the alarm to alert the police to this woman's ordeal and I would
like to thank them for that. However, others within the community
at Bradford and Burnley have turned a blind eye.
"Throughout her ordeal all she
wanted to do was go home. The victim had no intention of benefitting
from the opportunities presented in the UK and returned home as
soon as possible.
"She is an extremely vulnerable
young woman, and I am proud at the bravery she has shown in attending
court and giving evidence to obtain justice."
Following today's verdict, the victim
said: "I am very happy that these bad people are going to
prison. This is what I always wanted after what they did to me.
Thank you to the person who rang the police.
"I was so scared for my life. Many
times I wanted to run away from them but because of what the bad
people told me, I didn't know where to run, where to go, or who
I could trust.
"All I wanted to do was go home
to my family in Slovakia. If the police hadn't come to get me,
I don't think I would be here today.
"Thank you to the police and all
the other good people who looked after me and got me back to my
"Thank you for believing me."
THREE men and a woman have today been
jailed for a total of over 30 years after being convicted of people
trafficking for exploitation following a ten week trial at Preston
Azam Khan, 33, of Brougham Street, Burnley
has been jailed for 12 years after being found guilty of people
trafficking, three offences of rape, assault and false imprisonment.
Abdul Sabool Shinwary, 38 of Washington
Street, Bradford has been sentenced to 10 year and 3 months
after being convicted of people trafficking for exploitation under
section 4 of the Asylum and Immigration Act 2004.
Imrich Bodor, 45, of Clipstone Street,
Bradford has been jailed for nine years after being found guilty
of people trafficking for exploitation under section 4 of the
Asylum and Immigration Act 2004.
Kristina Makunova, 37 of Girlington
Road, Bradford pleaded guilty to people trafficking for exploitation
during the first week of the trial and was yesterday given a 51
week custodial sentence.
A fifth person, Nusrat Khan, 40, of
Colne Road, Burnley was handed a nine month suspended sentence
after being found guilty of false imprisonment.
Petra Dzudzova, 25, of Clipstone Street,
Bradford will be sentenced tomorrow after being convicted of people
trafficking for exploitation.
Link to Lancashire Police press release:
The following case studies are from
recent applications for residence documentation where the non-EU
national and their EU citizen sponsor have been invited to interview
by the UK authorities due to concerns that the marriage was not
genuine. Names and nationalities have been excluded in order to
protect the identities of the persons involved.
Case Study 1
The EU citizen sponsor admitted at interview
that she had entered into a sham marriage with the non-EU national.
She advised that she had been recruited by a woman in her home
member state. At the time, she was a single mother to two young
children, had recently lost her job and been unable to find other
work. She approached this woman for financial assistance, and
was persuaded to come to the UK to take part in a sham marriage.
She was told that she would be paid 800 for her involvement.
There were also two men based in the UK involved in facilitating
this marriage. The EU citizen explained that the facilitator in
her home member state would fly up to 10 women to the UK per week
to take part in sham marriages.
The EU citizen was flown to the UK to
take part in the marriage and then returned home. The non-EU national
submitted an application for a residence card, submitting documents
showing that the EU citizen was working in the UK, that they shared
a bank account and that they lived together at the same address.
The facilitators even set up a fake company in order to provide
evidence that the EU citizen was self-employed in the UK. Both
parties were invited to attend a marriage interview by the UK
authorities due to concerns that the marriage was not genuine.
After having difficulty in replicating her claimed spouse's answers
during the marriage interview, the EU citizen admitted that she
did not know the person claiming to be her spouse, she had never
resided or worked in the UK and that the supporting documents
submitted (evidence of employment, bank statements, evidence of
cohabitation) were counterfeit. She and her alleged spouse had
been given 'crib sheets' to prepare them for the interview.
The EU citizen became very distressed
during the interview. She advised that she had not received the
money she had been promised for her part in the sham, and was
extremely worried about 'getting in trouble' for her involvement.
Case Study 2
A Brazilian national ('A') entered the
UK on a visit visa with her husband ('B') and son ('C') (also
Brazilian nationals) in March 2003. In July 2003, 'A' applied
for a leave to remain as a student, as she had enrolled on an
English language course in the UK. 'A' was granted leave to remain
until May 2004. 'B' and 'C' were granted leave to remain as her
dependents. In May 2004, 'A' made an application to extend her
leave to remain, with 'B' and 'C' seeking further leave to remain
as her dependents. This application was refused in June 2004 on
the basis that the college at which she had enrolled had been
revealed as not being a bona fide establishment. 'A' appealed
the decision, but the appeal was dismissed in July 2005.
'A' and her dependents remained in the
UK without leave to remain until February 2006, when the family
returned voluntarily to Brazil.
An application for an EEA residence
card from 'B' was received on 21 October 2006. 'B' claimed that
he had divorced 'A' on their return to Brazil, had married a Portuguese
national in Portugal and then re- entered the UK as the spouse
of an EEA national in September 2006. Two days later, on 23 October
2006, 'A' and 'C' also submitted applications for EEA residence
cards, on the basis that 'A' had married a Portuguese national
in Brazil and that she and 'C' were residing with the Portuguese
national in the UK. Residence cards were issued to all three applicants
on the basis that they had submitted evidence of identity, relationship
and exercise of free movement rights for the respective EEA nationals.
In April 2012, 'B' submitted an application
for a document certifying a right of permanent residence. This
application was refused on the basis that the marriage appeared
to be one of convenience. 'B' had provided no valid evidence that
the Portuguese national was in the UK, and the evidence of employment
submitted was found to be false. The residence card issued to
'B' in 2006 was revoked at time of this decision. At the same
time, 'A' submitted an application her and 'C' for leave to remain
on the basis of Article 8 of the ECHR, on the basis of C's residence
in the UK. This application was refused.
'A' then submitted applications for
an EEA Residence Card on 26 July and 18 August 2013 on the basis
of being the direct family member of an EEA national, before submitting
an application 30 Oct 2013 on the basis that her son had a right
of residence due to having commenced education in the UK.
A pastoral visit was made by Immigration
Officers to the home of 'A' and 'C'. 'C' advised the Immigration
Officers that he lived at the address with his parents, 'A' and
'B'. Under interview, 'A' conceded that 'B' had resided with her
at her address for '2-3 years'.
The UK authorities consider that it
is clear that 'A' and 'B', having exhausted avenues for leave
to remain under the Immigration Rules in 2006, conspired to re-enter
the UK as a family unit by entering into two marriages of convenience
and fraudulently claiming a right of residence as the spouses
of EEA nationals. The family have in fact had no legitimate basis
to remain in the UK since July 2005.
Sampling exercise conducted on decisions
made by a Home Office casework team during week commencing 7th
200 of the applications dealt with
by this team were randomly sampled to assess the application type,
reason for application, and where applicable what kind of marriage
certificate had been submitted.
|Total Number in Sample
|DFM - SPOUSE/CP
|DFM - OTHER
|EFM - DURABLE PARTNER
|EFM - OTHER
|DERIVATIVE RIGHTS (ZAMBRANO, CHEN)
Breakdown of Spouse Residence Card
Applications in Sample:
|No. of Applications
||Proxy Marriages (No.)
||Proxy Marriages (%)
|Permanent Residence Cards
Metropolitan Police Service Freedom
of Information Request Response listing press releases on the
work of Operation Golf
Link to source: http://www.met.police.uk/foi/pdfs/disclosure_2010/december/2010110004069.pdf
Europol Knowledge Product: Trafficking in Human Beings
in the European Union (September 2011)
Child Exploitation and Online Protection (CEOP)
Report: The trafficking of children into and within the UK for
benefit fraud purposes (October 2010)
Council of the Baltic Sea States (CBSS)
report - Children trafficked for exploitation in begging and
criminality: A challenge for law enforcement and child protection
Alleged members of a gang who trafficked
people into the UK to claim benefits are bailed
03 November 2011
A Polish gang who trafficked more than
200 people to the UK as part of a multi-million pound benefit
fraud has been smashed following a joint investigation by the
Metropolitan Police, Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC)
and the Polish police.
The two-year operation, initiated by
the Posen Appeals Prosecution Office (in Poland), culminated on
2 November in 29 people being arrested in Poland and five addresses
searched in London, resulting in two arrests (a man and woman
aged their 40s). Searches were also carried out in Birmingham.
The two arrested in London both
Polish nationals are now bailed to return to a south London
police station on 12 December pending further inquiries.
Inquiries found the gang, based in Poland,
promised at least 230 victims - many of whom had alcohol or mental
health problems - work in the UK.
They then brought the victims to stay
in various addresses in this country and tricked them into signing
papers to open bank accounts.
The criminals then fraudulently applied
for Tax Credit and other benefits using the victim's details and
got the money paid into the newly created accounts.
The money was emptied from the accounts
by gang members and sent back to the ringleaders in Poland while
the trafficked victims were left destitute.
It is believed the scam has cost the
UK more than £2million.
Uniformed Polish police officers joined
officers from the Human Exploitation and Organised Crime Command
(SCD9), Territorial Support Group (TSG) and local officers to
search addresses in south and east London for further evidence.
The search warrants coincided with police
back in Poland arresting suspected members of the gang as they
gathered for a wedding.
Detective Inspector Kevin Hyland, from
SCD9, said: "These vulnerable victims were trafficked here
to be exploited and satisfy the greed of these criminals. They
were brought here under the impression they were getting a job
but were left with nothing, with many ending up on the street.
"The complex international dimension
to this inquiry meant that it was vital to have a close relationship
with the Polish authorities, which is why they joined us on this
operation this week.
"These arrests are the first step
in these victims getting justice in their home country and have
prevented more money being stolen from the public purse."
Assistant Director John Pointing, from
HMRC Criminal Investigation London, said: "During this operation,
HMRC investigated over 230 Tax Credit awards with a value in excess
of £2,000,000. We suspect the claims have been submitted
by a criminal gang trafficking people who have then acquired their
victims' identities to commit fraud in the UK.
"The evidence HMRC gathered has
played a vital role in the strategic planning of this international
investigation and has directly supported the arrest of suspects
in Poland and the UK.
"Tax Credits are designed to help
lower income families and individuals. HMRC treats criminal attacks
on all its systems very seriously and works constantly with our
law enforcement partners, here and abroad, to detect, investigate
and prosecute offenders."
Police Major Monika Sokolowska from
the Central Unit for Trafficking in Human Beings, in Poland, said
"This form of trafficking is a new phenomenon in Poland at
this present moment. In the past we were used to dealing with
cases where people were trafficked for prostitution or for slavery
but this new form of trafficking is becoming ever more prevalent.
"This is a big case for us with
over 200 statements taken from vulnerable witness who were exploited.
These people were trafficked to the UK by criminals and did not
receive any of the social benefits that were fraudulently claimed
in their name. This has been an ongoing case working with officers
from the MPS and other partner agencies, and much has been achieved
today because of the partnership work involved."
Most of the victims are now back in
Poland and have been supported by the Polish authorities.
Link to source:
Free Movement Rights Initial
Information for the European Commission (UK)
(Provided to the Commission on 3
Subsequent to the Ministerial discussions at the
June 2013 Justice and Home Affairs Council, the European Commission
(Directorate General Justice) has requested that Member States
submit data and statistics to the Commission, so that DG Justice,
in conjunction with the members of the expert group on free movement,
can examine the problem and report back to the Council in December.
We are in the process of collating further more detailed
information which will be provided to the Commission in due course
and in advance of the submission of their report to the December
Justice and Home Affairs Council.
DG Justice has specifically requested detailed information
i. Total number and percentage of mobile EU citizens
who are economically active (or inactive) in comparison to nationals
who are active (or inactive)
ii. Total number and percentage of mobile EU
citizens who asked for/ received social benefits in comparison
to nationals (and non-EU nationals) in a given period
iii. Details on types of abuse and fraud of free
iv. Number and percentage of mobile EU citizens
who were found to abuse free movement rights, in comparison to
the total number of EU mobile citizens in a given country and
given period and in comparison to nationals and non-EU nationals
v. Use of cohesion funds to address social inclusion,
and your national priorities.
We consider that these questions (i-iv) place too
much emphasis on quantitative evidence. Qualitative evidence is
equally important in demonstrating the abuse of free movement
rights. For the reasons set out below, quantitative data is not
· The United Kingdom does not
currently impose a mandatory registration requirement upon Union
citizens who enter the UK and exercise free movement rights.
· Data on the nationality of
claimants for social welfare benefits is not routinely published
as the source systems used to capture and process income related
social welfare benefits claims typically do not include a nationality
As well as the limitations set out above, further
caveats are indicated throughout the document.
2. Total number, and living situations of Union
citizens in the United Kingdom
This section is split into three subsections which
cover: the total number of Union citizens living in the UK, the
annual flows of Union citizens entering the UK, and where available,
a break down of Union citizen activity.
2.1 Total number of mobile Union citizens living
in the UK
The Office of National Statistics estimates that
in 2012 over two million mobile Union citizens were living in
Table 1: Estimate of the resident
population of the UK by nationality, 2012 (Figures in thousands)
The number of EU nationals residing
in the UK has increased every year since 2004. In 2012 there were
over one million more EU nationals residing in the UK than had
been in 2004.
The total number of non-British nationals
has increased from 4,460,000 in 2010 to 4,852,000 in 2012, of
which mobile EU nationals constituted 2,003,000 in 2010, rising
to 2,343,000 in 2012.
Table 2: Estimate of the resident
population of the UK (by non-British nationality) 2004 to 2012
Some Union nationalities are significantly
represented in the UK. For example, in 2012 over 700,000 Polish
nationals were resident in the UK making them the most
common non-British nationality.
The significant increases in Union citizens
living in the UK over the years 2004-2012 have been focused in
certain parts of Great Britain. The vast majority of Union citizens
reside in England (as compared to Scotland, Wales and Northern
2.2 Annual Net Movement of mobile Union citizens
In the year ending December 2012 an estimated 155,000
mobile EU citizens migrated to the UK. Taking into account the
emigration of mobile EU citizens, the net migration of
Union citizens to the UK in the year ending December 2012 was
82,000, the same as the previous year.
2.3 Activity of mobile Union Citizens
As the United Kingdom does not have a mandatory registration
requirement for Union citizens, there is no available breakdown
of the activity or status of all EU nationals who are residing
in the UK. The Office of National Statistics publishes estimates
of the number of people in employment in the UK by nationality.
These are the latest figures, the historical estimates are available
at this link:
Table 3: Estimate of employment
level by nationality in the United Kingdom (thousands of people
aged 16 and over) not seasonally adjusted.
||Total EU 26
|Change on year (April-June 2012 to April-June 2013)
The Office of National Statistics also publishes
the number of National Insurance Numbers (NINo) issued to adult
overseas nationals entering the UK. A NINo is generally required
by any overseas national looking to work or to claim benefits
or tax credits in the UK, including the self-employed or students
working part-time. These statistics provide a measure of inflow
for adult overseas nationals (not a measure of activity per se).
Table 4: NINo registrations to adult
EU nationals entering the UK, by year of registration, 2009/10
|EU 26 total (excl. Croatia)
During 2012/13, 209,180 NINos were registered
to nationals of those Member States who acceded to the EU in 2004
(for whom labour market restrictions were lifted across the EU
as a whole in May 2011) plus the more recent accession countries
(Romania and Bulgaria) - an increase of nearly 3,000 (1%) on 2011/12.
Registrations to other EU nationals (176,060 in 2012/13) increased
3. Mobile EU citizens and social welfare
Data on the nationality of claimants
for social welfare benefits is not routinely published as the
source systems used to capture and process income related social
welfare benefits claims typically do not include a nationality
Consequently it is not possible to provide
regular reporting on the nationality of applicants for social
welfare benefits. However, we are exploring whether we can provide
ad-hoc information on the number of mobile EU citizens in receipt
of social welfare benefits in the UK.
In some cases criminality by EU nationals who come
to the UK is directed at the social welfare system - through deliberately
fraudulent claims for social welfare. In a recent example an
EU national assisted other EU nationals to submit fraudulent benefit
claims. This case is estimated to have resulted in the fraudulent
claims of £2.9 million worth of benefits.
4. Abuse and fraud of free movement rights
The abuse of free movement rights can take several
different forms and the modus operandi may vary from one Member
State to another. However, abuse by non-EU nationals has one
primary goal, namely to circumvent domestic immigration rules
and obtain the right to enter and reside in the European Union
with access to all the associated benefits which flow from free
movement, such as the right to work and social welfare benefits.
It is our experience that abuse of free movement
rights is not limited to non-EU nationals who are seeking to circumvent
domestic immigration rules. Union citizens can also abuse free
movement rights, for example by going to another Member State
in reliance on free movement but with no intention of genuinely
or effectively exercising Treaty rights.
The following types of abusive behaviour may be encountered
(not an exhaustive list):
i. Marriages of Convenience
ii. False or fraudulent use of European Union
iii. False claims of dependency, paternity or
iv. False information provision, such as fictitious
v. Union citizens who benefit from free movement
primarily to engage in criminality in the UK
vi. Union citizens who come to the UK with no
intention of genuinely and effectively exercising Treaty rights
In the following section we have provided information,
where available on the most common types of abuse encountered
in the UK. We will provide more operational information in advance
of the December Council.
4.1 Marriages of Convenience
Marriages of convenience present an
increasing threat to the UK, not only in terms of volume, but
also due to the involvement of organised criminal groups and the
links to wider criminality.
The total number of marriages of convenience
which take place every year is very complex to establish, and
there are also no national statistics on the involvement of organised
criminal groups in facilitating marriages of convenience. However
there is significant qualitative evidence to indicate the severity
of the threat. Indicative examples, to illustrate the scale of
the problem, have been provided below.
In the UK, registrars who conduct civil
marriage ceremonies have a duty to notify the Home Office if they
have reasonable grounds to believe that a marriage is one of convenience.
These reports (known as section 24 reports) are one indicator
of the number of suspected sham marriages taking place in the
UK. The number of section 24 reports received by the Home Office
has increased every year since 2008.
Table 5: Section 24 reports
received from registrars annually
Section 24 reports do not cover
all of the marriages which take place in the UK. The number of
section 24 reports should only be considered as a proportion of
the total number of suspected sham marriages which take place
in the UK every year. For example, there is no reporting duty
for religious ceremonies which take place in Church of England
establishments, though there is evidence that marriages of convenience
take place in such religious establishments.
A London vicar who carried out nearly
250 sham marriages between non-EU and EU nationals, to enable
the non-EU nationals to stay in the UK, was jailed for over four
years. The vicar earned over £30,000 from the fees he charged
for conducting a marriage of convenience.
A vicar at the Church of St Peter
and St Paul in the south of England was jailed for conducting
383 marriages of convenience between EU nationals and African
(mainly Nigerian) men to enable the non-EU nationals to stay in
the UK. The EU nationals were paid up to £3000 to participate.
An immigration solicitor and 'recruiter' were also jailed.
A vicar in the North of England was
jailed for carrying out 28 marriages of convenience, some of which
involved the same 'bride' taking part in multiple ceremonies to
As there is no requirement for non-EU
family members to register with municipal, regional or central
authorities in the UK, it can be difficult to detect a marriage
of convenience after the wedding ceremony. The involvement of
organised crime groups can make such marriages harder to detect
as these groups have significant experience and skills.
With marriages of convenience which
take place in the UK, non-EU nationals generally have no 'leave'
to be in the UK, for example their visa has expired, or they entered
the UK illegally and are seeking to regularise their stay. Others
may be here legally but have no means to extend their stay in
the UK, for example students whose visa is about to expire at
the end of their course. The aim, in such cases is to circumvent
domestic immigration rules and exploit free movement rules in
order to gain a right of residence in the UK.
Marriages of convenience can also take
place in other countries, before the couple come to the UK in
order to gain a right of entry for the non-EU national. A limited
study in 2011 looked at abusive applications for EEA Family Permits
(a form of overseas entry clearance for non-EU family members
of EU nationals). The study found 256 cases, approximately 2%
of the total applications for Family Permits in the period which
represents a significant proportion. In 176 of these 256 cases
Entry Clearance Officers had significant concerns about the authenticity
of the marriage. Many of the remaining cases involved serious
criminality or forged documentation.
During an interview for an EEA Family
Permit, the Albanian applicant, who had previously attempted
to enter the UK illegally, was unable to state where in France
his wife came from, the company his wife worked for, or the name
of his sister-in-law with whom his wife lives.
An Iraqi national, who had previously
unsuccessfully claimed asylum in the UK, applied for an EEA Family
Permit to join his spouse in the UK. The applicant claimed to
have met his wife in 2006 but during an interview he was unable
to state his wife's date of birth, he also could not explain what
his wife did in the UK. He also claimed that he and his wife,
a Lithuanian citizen, communicated with each other in English;
however the applicant was unable to communicate in English during
Many individuals arrange their own marriages
of convenience, primarily through the internet where offers of
participation are readily available, or through friends and family.
A 19 year old university student
was sentenced for taking part in a marriage of convenience to
a fellow student whose visa was about to expire. The student received
£4,000 in exchange for participating in the ceremony.
Organised crime groups also play a significant
role in facilitating marriages of convenience. Whilst there are
no statistics currently available on the number of marriages of
convenience which are facilitated by organised criminal groups,
we consider this is likely to be an increasing threat. As Member
States' continually improve their ability to detect and prevent
marriages of convenience, more skilled facilitation is required.
As Europol has confirmed illegal immigrants are increasingly seeking
the services of organised criminal groups in an attempt to overcome
enhanced detection measures.
In August 2013, six people were arrested
in the North West of England for arranging and participating in
marriages of convenience between Hungarian and Pakistani nationals.
Two illegal immigrants who had overstayed their visas were also
arrested at the premises.
In March 2013 11 members of organised
criminal group were jailed for more than 18 years for arranging
marriages of convenience between Portuguese and Indian nationals.
A Portuguese national who acted as a translator and witness at
marriages of convenience received a 45 month sentence.
Organised criminal groups not only facilitate
marriages of convenience, they also use them to enable further
criminality. In one example from earlier this year:
In February 2013 several members
of a London based solicitors' firm were convicted for arranging
over 1,000 marriages of convenience. Clients of the firm's marriage
of convenience facilitation service included members of an Albanian
organised crime group who wanted 'free movement rights' in order
to smuggle £900 million worth of cocaine into the UK.
In some cases, organised crime groups
exploit EU nationals and oblige them to participate in marriages
of convenience. In these cases the EU nationals are the victims
of trafficking by organised crime groups.
In August 2013, several men were
on trial in the North of England for kidnapping and trafficking
a Slovakian national to the UK who was forced to take part in
a marriage of convenience.
In the UK the evidence indicates that
marriages of convenience are increasing and that organised crime
groups play a significant role in arranging these marriages. We
are also very concerned about reports which indicate that EU nationals
have been trafficked and forced to participate in such marriages.
4.2 Abuse of European Union documentation
Every year approximately over 1,000
non-EU nationals arrive at the UK Border and try to gain entry
by fraudulently using European Union documentation and pretending
to be a Union citizen with a right of free movement.
In 2011, the UK Border Force detected
1,494 non-EU citizens who attempted to gain entry to the UK by
falsely presenting themselves as a national of an EU Member State
with a right of free movement. Many thousands more fraudulent
documents are detected en route to the UK by carriers and by UK
staff based at airports around the world.
Italian and Greek Identity Cards were
the most commonly abused documents by non-EU nationals and accounted
for more than one in five false documents identified at the UK
Border in 2011. In total, five of the top ten abused documents
encountered at the UK border in 2011 were EU Identity Cards.
For operational security reasons we
cannot provide the full data on all fraudulent documents encountered
at the UK Border.
4.3 False claims of dependency, paternity or family
relationship and the false provision of information
All these types of abuse, false of family
relationship (including paternity), false claims of dependency
and the false provision of information are of concern in the UK.
However, it is not possible to extract statistics on these types
of abuse as this would require a manual search of all relevant
Home Office files.
4.4 Abuse of free movement rights by Union citizens
Union citizens can also abuse free movement rights.
The fundamental right of free movement is established in the Treaty
on the Functioning of the European Union but as the Treaty sets
out, this right is subject to conditions and limitations. For
example, to have a right to reside in another Member State for
longer than three months Union citizens and their family members
must meet the criteria in Articles 7, 12 or 13 of Directive 2004/38/EC.
The majority of Union citizens, who come to the UK,
do so in order to genuinely and effectively exercise Treaty rights.
However, in our experience EU nationals can abuse their Treaty
rights by coming to the UK in reliance on free movement but with
no intention of genuinely and effectively exercising rights.
In some cases, movement is primarily for the purposes of engaging
in criminal activity in the UK.
Over the last two years approximately 3,101 nationals
of other EU Member States were subject to enforced removal from
the UK (1,808 in 2012 and 1,293 in 2011).
As of 30 June 2013, approximately 4,000 EU nationals
were in British prisons.
There is also increasing qualitative evidence, through
case-study reporting by Immigration Enforcement Teams and the
Police, that the abuse of free movement rights by EU nationals
is increasing, both through the non-exercise of Treaty rights
(such as rough sleeping and begging) and, in some cases, associated
criminal offending. For example:
Operation Chefornak is a joint initiative
involving the Metropolitan Police Service (London), Westminster
City Council, the Home Office and the Romanian Embassy and Romanian
Police to tackle the issues of antisocial behaviour and begging
in Westminster (central London). The operation has been running
since November 2011 and to date has seen 796 arrests and the issue
of 73 'cease and desist' warning letters.
A specific operation under Chefornak earlier this
summer (July 2013) saw 62 cease and desist notices handed out
to Romanian nationals. 40 rough sleepers decided to return to
Romania and 21 of those chose to leave immediately and flights
were arranged for them. The Romanian Embassy and outreach charities
were involved in the operation along with Police and Home Office.
We have recently received reports of new types of
behaviour by EU nationals seeking to avoid the genuine and effective
exercise of Treaty rights. In London EU nationals are exiting
and re-entering the UK in order to repeatedly rely on their initial
three month right of residence established in Article 6 of Directive
2004/38/EC. The purpose of the behaviour is to avoid the requirements,
set out in Article 7 of Directive 2004/38/EC, which should be
fulfilled to have a right of residence for longer than three months.
Offending by EU nationals who come to the UK solely
for the purposes of criminal activity can take many forms, ranging
from serious organised crime to lower level activity. For example,
in advance of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games gangs
of EU nationals came to the UK, in reliance on free movement rights,
solely to steal (pickpocket) from tourists.
5. The abuse of free movement rights and public
In the UK there is significant public
awareness of the abuse of free movement rights. There is regular
media coverage of issues such as marriages of convenience, fraudulent
documentation and criminality committed by EU nationals.
As the UK authorities have previously
indicated to the Commission, the abuse of free movement rights,
including by EU nationals who come to the UK with no intention
of exercising Treaty rights or for the purposes of criminality,
is very damaging to public perceptions and support for free movement.
The Home Office receives hundreds of letters every year on this
topic, for example, from December 2012 - February 2013 the Home
Office received over 289 letters from members of the public which
touched on the abuse of free move movement rights.
It should be noted that this sampling exercise was undertaken
to demonstrate of the number of proxy marriage certificates received
by the UK authorities. The exercise has not been externally verified
and should not be considered as official statistics. Back
10 9 ONS, Population by Country of Birth and Nationality
Report, August 2013. Back
ONS, Population by Country of Birth and Nationality Report, August
ONS, Population by Country of Birth and Nationality Report, August
ONS, Migration Statistics Quarterly Report, August 2013. Back
ONS, Labour Market Statistics, August 2013. Back
Founder Member States and Counties acceding prior to 2004. Back
ONS, National Insurance Number Allocations to Adult Overseas Nationals
Entering the UK - registrations to March 2013, August 2013. Back
Founder Member States and Counties acceding prior to 2004. Back
Countries acceding since 2004 - EU8, EU2, Malta and Cyprus. Back
Europol, Marriages of Convenience as a means to enter and remain
in the EU, December 2012. Back
Estimated figures and subject to caveats. Back
Ministry of Justice, figures subject to caveats and may include
non-British citizens present in Immigration Removal Centres. Back