A recent article in the Toronto Star entitled “Immigration Canada Rejects 1700 Fake Marriage Applicants” (10 December 2020) provides some insight into the reasoning of the immigration authorities when it comes to rejecting spouse or partner sponsorship applications as non-genuine.
When assessing a spousal sponsorship application, the immigration authorities will consider whether they believe the marriage to be genuine, or whether the marriage is fake and was entered into simply for purposes of facilitating the immigration of the spouse to Canada.
The Star article describes that the immigration authorities reject about 1700 spouse or partner sponsorship applications every year as being non-genuine. This number has remained steady even though the number of applications and investigations fluctuates.
Immigration officers are trained to assess the genuineness of a relationship, including assessing the evidence provided in any given sponsorship application. Some of the warning signs of a fake marriage include:
- Photos of couples who are not kissing on the lips during the wedding ceremony
- A small wedding reception
- A Canadian sponsor who is relatively uneducated
- A Canadian sponsor who has a low-paying job or is on welfare
- The couple didn’t have a honeymoon
- The couple didn’t exchange diamond rings
- The wedding photos were taken at Niagara Falls or otherwise look staged
A report from the Canada Border Services Agency identifies several “high-risk” countries where fake spouses are sponsored from, including:
- Sri Lanka
India alone accounts for approximately 36 percent of the fraudulent marriage caseload.
While the assessment of the genuineness of a relationship is complex and depends on the facts of each case, the article provides some insight into the types of evidence and fact scenarios that the immigration authorities find problematic, and also shows that applications from certain countries with a high prevalence of fraud are more likely to be subject to careful scrutiny.