Civil Registration Act Commencement Order


Print page

Tánaiste Joan Burton and Minister of State Kevin Humphreys welcome commencement of new civil registration legislation and new powers given to country’s registrars to help clamp down on sham marriages

The Tánaiste and Minister for Social Protection, Joan Burton, T.D. has announced that a number of provisions in the Civil Registration (Amendment) Act 2014 take effect today (Tuesday, 18 August 2015).  These include provisions which make it more difficult to broker marriages of convenience or so-called ‘sham marriages’ in the State. This is achieved by making a marriage of convenience an impediment to marriage and allowing a registrar the right to investigate.

The Civil Registration (Amendment) Act 2014 was enacted last December, having been brought to Cabinet by the Tánaiste and steered through both Houses of the Oireachtas by her and Minister of State, Kevin Humphreys, T.D.

Under the provisions which take effect today, the registrars in the Civil Registration Service will have the powers to form an opinion on whether an intended marriage would constitute a marriage of convenience and, consequently, there is an impediment to the marriage. The Act also provides for increased sharing of information in relation to suspected marriages of convenience between the Department of Social Protection and the Department of Justice and Equality.

A marriage of convenience is defined in the Act as “a marriage where at least one of the parties to the marriage (a) at the time of entry into the marriage is a foreign national and (b) enters into the marriage solely for the purpose of securing an immigration advantage for at least one of the parties to the marriage.”

The Tánaiste said: “These powers are intended to clamp down on abuse of marriages of convenience. EU citizens and their families have the right to move and reside freely within the territories of the Member States.  These rights also apply to non-EU national spouses of EU nationals.  The right to marry is particularly protected in the Constitution.  However, these rules are being abused by individuals who are using marriage to gain an automatic right of residency. The powers that are being given to the registrars today will make it more difficult for marriages of convenience to be contracted."

In forming their opinion as to whether an intended marriage would constitute a marriage of convenience the registrars will consider:-

  • if the parties to the intended marriage speak a common language;
  • the period prior to the relevant notification of the intended marriage during which the parties to the intended marriage were known to each other;
  • the number and frequency of meetings of the parties to the intended marriage prior to the notification of the intended marriage; 
  • if the parties to the intended marriage have lived together in the past or if they currently live together;
  •  the extent to which each party to the intended marriage is familiar with the personal details of the other party;
  • the extent to which each party to the intended marriage intends to continue an existing commitment to mutual emotional and financial support of the other party to the intended marriage;
  • the immigration status of one or each of the parties to the intended marriage who is a foreign national;
  • other than in a case where money is paid as a dowry as appropriate to the culture of one or each party to the intended marriage, if money was paid as an inducement for the marriage;
  • if the one or each of the parties to the intended marriage has previously been the subject of an objection under the provisions of the Act;
  • any other information regarding the intended marriage which gives reasonable grounds for considering the marriage to be a marriage of convenience.

A registrar who forms an opinion that an intended marriage would constitute a marriage of convenience based on the criteria listed above (as set out in Section 18 of the Act), shall refer the matter to a Superintendent Registrar.  If, following investigation, the Superintendent Registrar decides that based on evidence, the proposed marriage constitutes a marriage of convenience then a marriage registration form will not be issued and the Department of Justice and Equality will be advised. 

Kevin Humphreys, Minister of State at the Department of Social Protection, has also welcomed the commencement of the legislation: “The Civil Registration (Amendment) Act 2014 provides for a wide range of matters relating to the registration of life events in the State. The Act introduces important and progressive changes to the civil registration processes, including these provisions which are aimed at combatting marriages of convenience and the abuse of the civil registration system.”

ENDS.


Note for editors:

The Civil Registration (Amendment) Act 2014 was enacted in December 2014. It provides for a wide range of matters relating to the registration of life events in the State.  

Apart from the provisions relating to marriages of convenience other provisions now being commenced clarify what is to be considered "a place open to the public" in relation to venues for marriage and civil partnership ceremonies. 

Provisions in the Act regarding the compulsory registration of fathers’ names on birth certificates and the recording of the deaths of Irish citizens who die while abroad will be commenced in the coming months.

Last modified:18/08/2015