Two Polish women have been jailed for conspiring to cheat UK Immigration Rules by staging a sham marriage.
Agnieszka Kobus, 43, from Chestnut Grove in Aughnacloy, Co Tyrone, was arrested when she attempted to marry a Pakistani man at Dungannon register office on 17 October 2012. The ceremony was stopped by our officers before it could take place.
Kobus was sentenced to 12 months in jail today (Thursday 28 November) at Dungannon crown court sitting in Belfast for her part in the plot. Six months will be served in custody with 6 months on licence.
Hanna Adamczyk, 42, who was living at the same address in Aughnacloy, had agreed to act as a witness at the ceremony. The court had heard how she had flown from Poland to take part in the plot. She was sentenced today at the same court to 10 months in jail suspended for 2 years.
Both women, who have been on bail since their arrest, were found guilty at a previous hearing at Dungannon crown court on 23 October 2013.
Pakistani man Muhammad Zafran, 28, the would-be groom in the plot, was sentenced at Dungannon crown court to 16 months in jail on 23 May 2013. Zafran has since been deported from the country.
Liam Byrne, Home Office, said:
‘These women were prepared to conspire with someone they barely knew, in an attempt to cheat the immigration system.
‘Immigration crime is not victimless. The gangs involved often have links to serious organised crime. We will continue to make life as tough as possible for those who seek to abuse the system.
‘The Home Office is cracking down on sham marriages and those who seek to cheat immigration laws face prosecution and conviction.’
A sham marriage or civil partnership typically occurs when a non-European national marries someone from the European Economic Area as a means of attempting to gain long-term residency and the right to work and claim benefits in the UK.