Police warn of new immigration scam

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There’s been an “explosive increase” in the number of questionable applications received by immigration authorities in Norway from people wanting to settle in Norway with a new spouse. Police think many involve pro-forma marriages arranged through organized crime syndicates.

Newspaper Aftenposten reported this week that police suspect that men from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Nigeria have paid European women, mostly from Romania and Bulgaria, to marry them after they’ve arrived in southern Europe. The marriages are believed to have been arranged through international  syndicates that also arrange pro-forma jobs for the women in Norway.

Suspicious similarities
Police noted that 19 men from Bangladesh all arrived in Norway around New Year. They all carried marriage certificates issued in Cyprus, had all married women from Romania and Bulgaria and many of the marriages were performed by the same man. The women declared they had jobs in Norway and could support their new husbands.

In earlier cases, police have tracked couples’ applications for family reunification and found that the women stay in Norway only as long as it takes for the men to receive their temporary residence permission.

‘Easier’ than when partner is Norwegian
“It’s much easier to obtain residence permission in Norway if a partner is from a country within the European free trade area, compared with situations where one of the partners is Norwegian,” Fredrik Strøm of the Oslo Police District. “Application control is much weaker, and a family reunification application triggers  residence permission of five years almost automatically.”

Now they suspect the rules are being exploited, as do tax and immigration authorities who have been checking up on where the couples allegedly live and work. Applications suspected of not being genuine are now being rejected and  several people have been deported.

newsinenglish.no/Nina Berglund