London: The UK government came under fire on Thursday as it emerged that it had allowed many foreign nationals, including Indians, to enter the country despite concerns that they had forced women into marriage for a British visa. An investigation by ‘The Times’ newspaper found that dozens of women who were sent overseas, to South Asian countries like India, Pakistan and Bangladesh, to marry tried to block visas for their new husbands.
However, according to records uncovered by the newspaper, of the 88 cases in which victims wanted to block visas, 42 were still granted by the UK Home Office despite attempts to prevent them. While charities working with victims of forced marriage have accused the government of “turning a blind eye” to the exploitation of British women, the office “categorically denies” the allegation.
According to the UK government’s Forced Marriage Unit, the four countries with the highest number of cases of British nationals being forced into a marriage against their will in 2017 were Pakistan (439), Bangladesh (129), Somalia (91) and India (82).