Marriage of convenience

​​People sometimes gain unlawful access to the Netherlands through a marriage of convenience or sham relationship.

A marriage of convenience is not as innocent as it may seem. Sometimes they claim victims, as they may involve people smuggling or human trafficking. This is why the government is taking preventive measures. For example, by means of stricter checks of potential marriages of convenience.

Negative effects on society

Facilitating or entering into a sham marriage may also involve:

  • Criminal activity

    For example, people smuggling and human trafficking. These are crimes that claim victims. Sometimes people make a great deal of money through sham marriages. The Dutch partner might be paid for entering into a sham marriage, either directly or through a criminal network.
  • Unnecessary cost to Dutch society

    People obtaining residency in the Netherlands through sham marriages make wrongful use of social security benefits. They also gain unjustified access to the labour market because their status allows them to work in the Netherlands.

Stricter checks of potential marriages of convenience

The government plans to investigate potential marriage of convenience and relations more closely. This can be done in several ways. For example, when a marriage of convenience is suspected, both partners can be interviewed separately about the marriage or relationship. If their answers differ significantly, a residence permit will be denied.

The agencies working closely together on enforcement, include the Immigration and Naturalisation Service (IND), the police, the Public Prosecution Service (OM), the Royal Netherlands Marechaussee (KMar), the Repatriation and Departure Service (DT&V), the Inspectorate SZW and the municipalities.

Involvement in a marriage of convenience is a criminal offence

People who are involved in a sham marriage or relationship are acting in violation of Dutch law.
Providing false information about a relationship may result in:

  • denial of a residence permit based on marriage or relationship (for the migrant);
  • revocation of a residence permit (for the migrant);
  • a fine, an alternative sanction (such as community service) and/or a prison sentence (for the resident partner).