How Zimbabweans Are Getting COS to Work in the UK
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How Zimbabweans Are Getting COS to Work in the UK

Shocking Details of What Zimbabweans Are Going Through to Get The COS.A COS is an electronic document issued by foreign employers to prove that one has secured a job.

Shocking details of how Zimbabweans desperate to leave for the UK are getting into arranged marriages to access the COS.

In WhatsApp groups, messages are sent calling for prospective spouses like a middle-aged men to pair up with women for an arranged marriage.

Arranged marriages are not unique in some societies. But this ‘‘arranged’’ marriage that is being advertised online, where the whole world can see, is purely for monetary gains — for both parties.

It’s a marriage of convenience for the man and woman — once they are a married couple they can easily relocate to the United Kingdom. Such a fake marriage of convenience is designed to expedite the processing of spousal visas to enable the bogus couple to travel to the UK for employment.

For one to secure a job in the UK, they require what is known as a Certificate of Sponsorship (COS). COS is an electronic document issued by foreign employers to prove that one has secured a job, which in turn qualifies them to get a visa to go out of the country. The COS is not supposed to be sold but now money hungry individuals and companies have found a loophole they sell it for about £6 000, (US$7,000).

Spousal visas, arranged by the middlemen, enable two strangers to enter into a fake marriage to share the costs of the COS. One social media page with thousands of followers is in the business of fixing fake marriages. The message reads:

“We have here a 32-year-old woman looking for a man of about the same age willing to partner her to share the costs of the COS. Each party will pay half. When the spousal visas are out, you travel as a married couple and can divorce when you get to the UK, no worries. Inbox us your details such as age, location, profession and we will start the process.”

But there is a catch. Once in a country like the UK, the newlyweds cannot just divorce at the snap of a finger when they get there. They should remain married for at least two years before terminating the sham union.

While acknowledging the existence of fake marriages, in their various forms, Registrar-General (RG) Henry Machiri said there is little the department can do to curb the scourge. Machiri said:

“We are not in a position to tell if a marriage is fake or not but we do keep records of every marriage in the country.

Marriages of convenience are not unique to Zimbabwe and are common in many countries because people engage in such unions for various reasons.

Some do it, for instance, to get work permits.”

But not all that glitters is gold for everyone who moves overseas for greener pastures. Countless reports of Zimbabwean caregivers in the UK being subjected to unfair labour practices, exploitation and poor salaries are abound.-Zimtrending

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