Jason Kenney, Canada’s Immigration Minister, recently spoke out about changes to rules regarding the permanent residency status of foreign nationals who marry Canadian citizens or residents. Due to increasingly common cases of marriage fraud, spousal sponsorship laws were changed in order to limit the “revolving door” allowing immigrants easy entry into the country as well as the right to permanent residence status.
Marriage fraud occurs when a foreign national marries a Canadian citizen or permanent resident for the sole purpose of gaining entry to Canada. The Canadian involved is often unaware of the true intention of their spouse and is swept away by emotion and taken advantage of. Once the foreigner has gained entry to the country, they immediately file for divorce. In many cases they will then turn around and marry their true partner from their home country in order to bring them over to Canada as well. It is not as uncommon as you might think to hear stories of Canadian spouse eagerly awaiting the arrival of their partner only to find out that they are living in another part of the country and have no intention of making contact again. To add injury to insult, the Canadians involved in these marriage scams are often fiscally responsible for the well-being and care of their ex-spouse for up to 3 years, despite their separation and/or divorce. This is due to the language in the sponsorship documentation which constitutes a legally binding contract between the Government of Canada and the Canadian sponsor.
To paraphrase his statement to the press, Kenney had this to say:
Marriage fraud for immigration purposes is totally unacceptable and is a mockery of the sanctity of marriage as well as undermining the immigration program and hurting legitimate married couples. Because of the influx of fraudulent applications, it takes longer to investigate marriage applications leading to unreasonable wait times. He condemns the practice and the government has introduced new laws in order to prevent future abuses.
Now if you come to Canada as a sponsored husband or wife it will take at least 2 years in order for you to qualify for permanent resident status in order to ensure that it is a legitimate marriage and to stop the revolving door on fake immigration marriages. There have been many cases in which foreigners pay a Canadian citizen to marry them so that they can enter the country. Once here, they will get divorced and return home to marry their actual partner or – in many cases – another paying foreigner in order to recoup their losses.
Kenney wants these fraudsters to know that the government is on to them and they are cracking down. Visa officers are becoming very proficient at identifying fake marriages and, thanks to the new law, the number of fraudulent applications has dropped significantly.