A MOROCCAN national has lost his appeal against the Home Office’s refusal to allow him to stay in the UK after it was ruled his Blackburn marriage was a sham.

An immigration tribunal heard that 46-year-old Abdellah Sanibal arrived in the UK in 2004 on a visit visa.

In January 2011 he married Agath Rybczyaska, a woman he had met two years earlier, at the former Blackburn Register Office.

Although he had siblings and wider family in Blackburn at the time Mr Sanibal and Ms Rybczyaska moved to London.

The tribunal heard that Mr Sanibal was issued with a residence card in May 2011 as the spouse of an European Economic Area (EEA) national exercising treaty rights in the UK. However the pair separated in July 2014 and their divorce was finalised in July 2017.

In April 2018, Mr Sanibal applied for permanent residence on the basis that he was the former spouse of an EEA national exercising treaty rights in the UK for more than five years.

That was refused in September 2018, on the basis after interviewing Mr Sanibal Home Office staff felt his marriage was one of convenience.

Mr Sanibal appealed against that decision in April of this year but it was rejected by a tribunal judge who ruled he had not properly established that the marriage was genuine.

Mr Sanibal was granted leave to appeal that decision but it was rejected.

Judge Rebecca Chapman accepted the previous judge was entitled to take his view on Mr Sanibal’s credibility based on his vague responses as to where he lived following the wedding or other supporting evidence to show that he was in a relationship with Ms Rybczyaska during the period he claims.

However Judge Chapman did accept Mr Sanibal’s submissions that the previous judge wasn’t entitled to question his credibility in relation to his failure to remember the spelling of Ms Rybczyaska’s family name or his inability to recall the day of the week that he married.

If Mr Sanibal is not granted further leave to appeal, he will be deported.

In the earlier part of this decade, East Lancashire was at the centre of a glut of sham marriage plots with many of the participants and ringleaders being imprisoned.

Often they would involve men from outside the EU entering the country on a temporary visa being paired with EU or UK nationals.