The UK government has announced the proposed abolition date for the ‘certificate of approval’ scheme. The scheme will end on 9 May 2011, subject to approval by Parliament.
At present, any migrant who is already in the UK and is subject to immigration control must apply for a certificate of approval before they can get married or register a civil partnership in this country (unless they are getting married within the Anglican Church).
This is considered not only discriminatory but a violation of people’s fundamental rights.
The government is now seeking to remedy the declaration by the UK courts that the scheme is incompatible with Article 14 of the European Convention on Human Rights (read with Article 12). Additionally, changes made following rulings from the courts have weakened the scheme, and it is no longer an effective method of preventing sham marriage.
The Parliamentary process for abolishing the scheme using a Remedial Order under the Human Rights Act 1998 is drawing to a close. The Order must be approved by both Houses of Parliament. The House of Commons approved the order on 29 March. During this debate, the Minister for Immigration announced the proposed abolition date. We will proceed to abolish the scheme on 9 May if the House of Lords approves the Order following a debate on 4 April.
Entering into a sham marriage does not entitle migrants to any right to remain in the UK. The UK Border Agency will continue to investigate suspected abuse and, where possible, disrupt marriages before they take place. If we uncover marriages that are not genuine, we will challenge them and prosecute where possible