Antwerp admits to losing battle against bogus marriages
Antwerp public prosecutors are reportedly no longer going to investigate some bogus marriages.
According to a report in the daily Gazet van Antwerpen people who following an investigation are refused permission to marry can apply for permission to become cohabitants.
Once they have obtained this official status, they will be given a residence permit and can apply to get married for a second time.
Antwerp public prosecutor Herman Dams says that when his offices ban a bogus marriage, people just apply for the status of cohabitants: "Then there is nothing we can do against it and all our trouble has been in vain."
Mr Dams is now proposing that people who register as cohabitants are now no longer automatically granted a residence permit with no time limit.
The number of cohabitants who qualify for a residence permit has shot up in Antwerp.
Three years ago the figure was 20. Today it stands at 450.