7,771 bogus weddings stopped
26 November 2007
BRUSSELS – The number of bogus marriages that were prevented from going through by local authorities across Belgium will have risen by some 70 percent by the end of this year. The local municipal authorities, who are responsible for the registration of births, deaths and marriages in Belgium, refused to marry 5,474 couples during 2006.
However, according to the Federal Immigration and Asylum Service 7,771 suspect marriages were thwarted during the first ten months of this year. This is likely to have topped 9,300 by the end of December, a rise of around 70 percent on the figures for 2006.
According to a report in the daily 'Het Laatste Nieuws' the vast majority (62 percent) of those wanting to marry in order to get a residence permit came from Morocco.
A further 12 percent of bonus partners came from Turkey and 8 percent from Algeria. Most prevalent in big cities, 654 bogus marriages were thwarted in Antwerp alone The Federal Immigration and Asylum Service says that local authorities in the big cities are especially aware of the problem of bogus marriages.
Antwerp topped the list with 654 bogus marriages; Ghent had 503, Lie 380 and Charleroi 482.
Some municipalities in Greater Brussels also report high levels of bogus marriage attempts.
The City of Brussels reported 539 cases, Anderlecht 503 and Sint-Jans Molenbeek 248.