Among foreigners denied residence permits on the grounds that their marriages to Icelanders are considered suspect, Asians featured most prominently – despite being a proportionately smaller group of immigrants than Europeans.
Data from the Office of Immigration, Pressan reports, shows that denial of residence permits based on suspicion of a “fake” marriage has increased since the economic collapse of 2008. From that year until present day, 37 individuals have been denied permits based on these suspicions, with 16 rejections occurring in 2009 alone.
Kristín Völundardóttir, the director of the Office of Immigration, told Pressan, “Experience has shown that when an applicant is having difficulties getting some kinds of permits, such as a work permit, they in some cases try to receive a residence permit based on other means, such as through marriage.”
Typically, the warning signs that authorities say they look for when it comes to false marriages include the individuals not living together, not sharing a common language, or not knowing each other for very long.
However, the data shows that of those who have been suspected of being in a false marriage, the majority have hailed from southeast Asian countries such as the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam. At the same time, these nationalities are in far fewer numbers than other immigrant groups, with the top tier belonging to Poles and Lithuanians.
What accounts for the disproportionately high number of Asians suspected of being in false marriages is not specified in the data, as each marriage is reviewed on a case-by-case basis.