Two women living in South Yorkshire have been jailed for taking part in sham marriages to help Pakistanis get into the UK.
Eva Holubova and Matylda Krejci, both from Eastwood, Rotherham, were arrested when a network set up to help foreign nationals into the country illegally was smashed.
Immigration officials discovered the scam when more than 60 applications for visas were received by the British High Commission in Islamabad, where Pakistani men allegedly wanted to join their wives in the UK.
When officials examined the applications, they discovered supporting documents were false.
It emerged Rotherham-based ‘facilitators’ of the sham marriages – believed to have been paid a ‘considerable’ amount, flew Slovakian and Czech women living in South Yorkshire – to Pakistan to pose as brides.
Since 2004, Slovakian and Czech Republic nationals have not needed leave to enter and remain in the UK, meaning anyone claiming to be a spouse can apply to move to the UK.
Holubova, aged 51, and 30-year-old Krejci became the 19th and 20th defendants jailed as part of Operation Razorback, mounted once the immigration breaches were discovered.
They were both sentenced to eight months behind bars after admitting assisting unlawful immigration.
Sarah Wright QC, prosecuting at Sheffield Crown Court, said: “The aim of the conspiracy was to enable the applicants to enter the UK unlawfully.
”Although some brides took part in what appear to be wedding ceremonies with the applicants, they clearly had no intention of living with them in settled and genuine relationships.
Jailing the pair, Judge Rosalind Coe QC said the scam ‘struck at the heart of the immigration system’.
She said: “The conspiracy was a sophisticated one involving flying women to take part in marriage ceremonies.”
She said the bogus brides were paid ‘relatively small amounts of money’, but the organisers are thought to have been paid a ‘considerable’ amount.