Victims of forced marriages to get protection in new immigration rules
Following an investigation by The Times, Home Secretary Sajid Javid announced that victims of forced marriages will be able to block the visas of their abusers.
Prior to this, victims had to give evidence publicly if they wished to object to their abusers getting a visa to come to the UK. Out of fear of their families finding out, many chose not to. Now, those forced into marriages by their families will be able to give evidence in secret. This will allow them to object to their spouses’ visas without fear of repercussions from their family and community.
Currently, the Home Office is working alongside legal experts and judges to change the current rules. The new rules will ensure that the evidence given in secret by victims can be used as evidence to withstand an appeal, and refuse a visa to abusers.
There is also an on-going consultation to further protect victims of forced marriages. The consultation will discuss forced marriages and immigration. The consultation is considering allowing a forced marriage to be a reason to refuse entry to the UK. It will also set to impose a duty on professionals to report forced marriages to the police.
Using deception to coerce somebody to go abroad and force them to marry, is a criminal offence. The offence has a prison sentence of up to seven years.
If you, or somebody you know is/may be a victim of forced marriage please contact us. We also have an out-of-hours number for urgent matters.