Bungling UK Border Agency police call halt to upscale wedding

Published:  12 Nov at 6 PM
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Expat forums across the third world are crammed with posts detailing mistakes made by immigration officials, but this stunner by the already controversial UK Border Agency surely tops the 2013 list of embarrassing incidents.

Acting on a tip from Camden council, not the smartest knife in the drawer according to many local business owners, UK Border Agency immigration police crashed the legitimate wedding of two Harrods employees. Believing the marriage to be bogus, the two border police stormed in and halted the proceedings, accompanied by a local reporter who’d been invited along to see how the scheme worked.

The by then unhappy couple were taken to separate rooms and grilled for half an hour on their private lives and knowledge of each other. The two border police failed to notice the couple’s designer gear and decidedly upmarket appearance, quite unlike the usual grubby trainers, pants and anoraks seen at attempted bogus weddings.

Slowly, it dawned on immigration that a mistake just might have been made, at which point the journalist was sent packing and the wedding was resumed. To be fair to the hapless immigration officers, the couple had problems with spelling each others’ surnames and the bride’s visa was due to expire six weeks after the marriage took place.

The expelled reporter, cheated of his photographs by the officials, took full advantage of the fiasco and the story went viral shortly afterwards. Later it emerged that the couple had booked a high-end restaurant for the reception and a room in a luxury hotel for the wedding night.

When asked for a quote, a Home Office spokesperson read from the usual script, noting the ministry’s obligation to investigate any suspected sham marriage undertaken for the purpose of obtaining residency. One of the immigration officials involved put it more succinctly, saying that if it was a sham wedding it was the best he’d ever seen.
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