Marriage fraud for Canadian immigration
Canadian citizens or permanent residents marrying a foreigner are required to sponsor their spouse to bring them to Canada. The processing of Spousal sponsorship is one of the top priorities of the Canadian visa offices so it is fastest way for a foreigner to migrate to Canada as permanent resident. Whereas most of the beneficiaries of this process are genuine spouses, some of them have found this to be a convenient way to circumvent Canadian immigration laws, get the permanent residence by defrauding their sponsor and using them for getting permanent residence status in Canada.
In recent years there has been a flurry of news about these victims of fraud marriages who have been cheated by their foreign spouses, who married them solely for the purpose of getting in Canada and left them once they received their permanent residence. As a part of their sponsorship undertaking the sponsor is responsible for their spouse financially for three years from their landing in Canada, so if that spouse even living separate from sponsor goes on public assistance, the sponsor bears the responsibility and is liable for the full amount of public assistance received during the period of undertaking. So the unsuspecting sponsor is penalized twice , once when the spouse leaves him or her after getting in Canada and then when the same spouse uses public assistance.
After hearing lots of complaints and meeting numerous victims of these fraud marriages in public meetings, and after exhaustive public consultations with various immigrants groups, Honourable minister Jason Kenney, finally announced in March 2012 that CIC have introduced a policy of five year ban on sponsorship by someone who was a beneficiary of sponsorship. Now if a spouse leaves a sponsor, they cannot just turn around, get divorced and again remarry to sponsor someone else. In addition to keep integrity of spousal sponsorship intact, tougher scrutiny of spousal sponsorship applications will be done by visa offices for marriages of convenience. A proposal for two years of conditional status for spousal sponsorship candidates is also in progress.
With these measures in place Immigration department is trying to discourage the marriages of convenience and save the innocent victims of fraud marriages who not only suffer a great deal emotionally but are also on hook financially, in case of the sponsored person taking public assistance. The integrity of family class sponsorship can only be maintained if malice’s like fraud marriage are dealt with stricter scrutiny and more enforcement of immigration laws for the fraudsters.