Suspicious marriages bar residence

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More than 600 foreigners who have married Norwegians during the last three years have been denied residence permission in Norway, because immigration officials suspect they’re marriages of convenience. Around 100 Turkish men also risk having their residence permits revoked on suspicion their marriages to Norwegian women were pro forma as well.

Some of the Turkish citizens who risk expulsion have lived in Norway for as long as 15 years, reports newspaper Aftenposten.

The Norwegian Directorate of Immigration (UDI) has refused residency to 616 foreigners: 150 in 2007, 200 in 2008, 198 in 2009 and 68 until the end of May this year. Most are men and many are from Turkey. Many of these come from Konya, a town in the central highlands of Anatolia. They are mostly young men who have married older Norwegian women.

Crackdown continues
Norwegian officials have been trying to crack down on the use of marriage as a way to gain resident status in Norway. UDI claims that some suspects from Turkey have divorced their Norwegian wives after receiving permanent resident status, and then applied for family reunification with their former Turkish wives whom they remarry. UDI claims the cases have been examined in close cooperation with the Norwegian embassy in Ankara.

Arild Humlen, an attorney for nearly 30 of the Turkish men who risk expulsion, critcizes the methods used to determine whether the marriages are genuine. Information has been gathered in the men’s hometown but sources are being held anonymous. The anonymity has been challenged in court and after an appeal, the immigration authorities have been ordered to divulge the sources of their information. They in turn have appealed to Norway’s Supreme Court.

“If anonymous reports can be used, this will have catastrophic implications for the rule of law in immigration cases,” Humlen told Aftenposten. He thinks the result of the appeal will affect everyone who attempts to settle in Norway on the grounds of marriage.

Women spark more suspicion
Aftenposten recently wrote that Norwegian women’s marriages to young foreigners were much more likely to be called into question than those of Norwegian men. Apparently women are considered more easily duped or alternatively men’s motives are more readily believed when they marry a younger partner from abroad.

“It doesn’t seem like Norwegian immigration authorities have grasped the fact that Norwegian women and men travel frequently and that many meet their partners abroad,” adds Humlen.

He estimates that some 1,500 people, including wives, children and grandchildren, will be affected by the decision of the High Court. UDI did not wish to comment on the case pending the court’s verdict.

Views and News from Norway/Sven Goll
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