More Fake Marriages Foiled (Norway)

More Fake Marriages Foiled

English frontpage
Norwegian frontpage
April 4, 2008

The Norwegian Directorate of Immigration (UDI) says it has heightened focus on the problem of marriages arranged mainly for the purpose of gaining the rights to live and work in Norway.

Applications to bring new spouses into Norway from foreign lands as part of a “family reunification” have been under greater scrutiny since a 2006 directive issued by the Labour Ministry.

The nationalities include applicants from Turkey, Morrocco, Pakistan, Iraq, Afghanistan and Vietnam, among others.

Precises statistics are not available for 2006, while just 57 applicants were rejected in 2005.

Norwegian Ambassador to Morrocco Arne Aasheim told newspaper Aftenposten that applications often involve couples who cannot communicate in the same language or cases in which the age difference is extremely high. Marriages that have taken place perfunctorily or without the pair having met before the wedding are also red flags.

Ambassador Aud Marit Wiig in Islamabad added that it is the UDI that makes the decision, while the embassies just prepare the applications.

Juss-Buss, a free legal-aid organization started by law students, has warned about getting too tough when evaluating marriage authenticity.
“We agree that much must be done to impede forced marriages,” said Inga Laupstad, a Juss-Buss worker. “But the rules and regulations also affect other marriages… Marriage today isnt necessarily what it was earlier, for example in regards to age and cultural differences.”

Laupstad feels the laws are too strict now, resulting in some “real” marriages being rejected and spouses and families denied rights in Norway.

For the 10 countries with the highest number of applications, the rejection rate varied greatly. Afghanistan, Iraq and Somalia had the highest percentage of rejections, at close to 40 percent of all applications, while Poland, Germany and Lithuania experienced almost no rejections.

Aftenposten English Web Desk
Catherine Stein