Expatica news

Sham marriages go unpunished

22 March 2007

BRUSSELS – The law that makes sham marriages a punishable offence remains a dead letter for the time being.

More than a year after the law came into effect, not a single court in Belgium has pronounced a conviction, according to De Morgen. The government had hoped that the law would deter marriages entered into for the sole purpose of obtaining a resident permit for one of the partners.

Flemish Christian democrat CD&V MP and expert on the topic Nahima Lanjri fears that this will cancel out the deterrent effect of the measure and is asking for more support for public prosecutors to crack down on sham marriages.

The law on sham marriages, which was entered into the statute book on 21 February 2006 in, is aimed at punishing marriage partners who only marry in order to get residence permission. The law sets fines of up to EUR 500 and/or prison sentences ranging from 15 days to a year, for the most flagrant cases.

But more than a year after the law has come into effect, it has not led yet to a single actual conviction.

[Copyright Expatica News 2007]

Subject: Belgian news