Czech brides increasingly sought for EU entry

Illustrative photo: archive of Radio Prague

Czech women are increasingly being sought after as brides for the sole reason that marriage offers an easy route to a visa, residence permit, and eventually passport for those seeking to escape from their country of origin. Police say the numbers of such, often short-lived, marriages are clearly on the rise.

Illustrative photo: archive of Radio Prague
Unrest in large parts of North Africa and the evaporation of the many hopes associated with the so-called ‘Arab Spring’ have resulted in record flights of emigrants seeking a better life in Europe. One aspect of that flight are the boatloads risking their lives to cross the Mediterranean to Europe. Another is the perhaps much safer route of getting entry into the European Union via a targeted marriage often pinpointing vulnerable women.

And the Czech Foreigners’ Police is warning that an increasing number of Czech women are being duped into marriages by young, handsome, and charming grooms abroad whose only real target is the visa and passport that could come after the wedding ceremony. Once the goal of residency in the Czech Republic is attained, police say the early love soon sours and husbands soon after quit their wives.

Police say that 20 cases of such disappearing husbands have already cropped up since the start of this year. But they say they are on average investigating around 20 cases of suspicious marriages a month.

Photo: Public Domain
Vladimír Takáč of the risk analysis section of the Foreigners’ Police described to Czech Radio the scenario followed by an increasing number of romances hatched under the bright holiday stars: “Tourists who are mainly visiting Tunisia, Algeria, and Egypt come back and say that they have formed a really meaningful relationship and want to get married and later live in the Czech Republic. A high proportion of the marriages do not work out and the husband often later disappears from the country.”

Police describe how back on home ground the marriages face problems that the husbands have difficulty finding work and fitting in and the woman are left with the responsibility for struggling to keep things together. In many cases these are vain attempts with the marriages soon becoming a clear sham. The husband in some cases brings over his previous wife and children from his homeland or even a new bride. Sometimes the still infatuated wives ring up heavy debts and only face up to the mistake they have made when the husband eventually leaves.

Illustrative photo: archive of Radio Prague
A web page ‘Black List Tunisko’ is the medium for some women to share their experiences of attempts to pick them up at hotels and resorts in Tunisia. There are, of course, the other cases where ‘false’ marriages are not founded on love and deception but on greed with Czech women agreeing to wed to non-EU immigrants for substantial payments. Here, the police have more solid grounds for action. A Czech police squad broke up a Czech-Nigerian gang based in Prague which is believed to have organised 27 such marriages.

And cases are regularly reported in Britain where Czech women living there agree to ‘fake’ marriages so illegal immigrants can stay in the country. Payments for such marriages can come to tens of thousands of pounds. Those conducting civil marriage ceremonies in Britain are supposed to report suspicious marriages to the police. In some cases the reasons are pretty evident, such as when the bride and groom use mobile phone translation apps during the ceremony to communicate with each other.