DUBLIN- Ireland has drafted new laws to tackle a problem of fake marriages, mostly by European women are being used by non-EU nationals to boost their chances of living legally in the EU, the Irish Independent reports.
Fresh studies show that the number of illegal marriages has grown considerably in Ireland for the first half of the current year.
Sums of at least 2,000 euros are being paid to Eastern European women to take part and in some cases gardai have found payments of up to 10,000 euros. One-third of the 1,617 applicants last year were to marry a Latvian or Lithuanian national.
Officials acknowledged that a "significant portion" were organized solely to secure residency rights.
Now the Government of Ireland is planning to take tough action here as well as actively participating in an European-wide clampdown.
Analyses of the figures have repeatedly uncovered unusual patterns of marriages and these are particularly evident in the applications involving Pakistanis and partners from the Baltic states.
Statistics for the first six months of this year show there were 76 applications involving Pakistanis and Latvians, compared with 114 for all of last year.
In the suspected sham cases, the men have predominantly been Pakistanis marrying Latvian women.
Overall, the number of residency applications based on marriage to an EU citizen dropped from 1,939 in 2010 to 1,617 last year. But between January and June last the total has jumped again to 960, roughly equivalent to the 2010 level.