Persons looking to be sponsored as a new spouse or partner to migrate to Canada will have a much longer wait and face a few new regulations following the introduction of new screening measures.
Last Friday, March 2, immigration minister, Jason Kenney annouced a bar on sponsorship as part of what he says is an ‘ongoing effort to deter people from using a marriage of convenience to come to Canada.’
“I held town hall meetings across the country to hear from victims of marriage fraud,” said Minister Kenney. “In addition to the heartbreak and pain that came from being lied to and deceived, these people were angry. They felt they had been used as a way to get to Canada. We’re taking action because immigration to Canada should not be built upon deceit.”
The regulatory changes now in force mean sponsored spouses or partners will have to wait five years from the day they are granted permanent residence status in Canada to sponsor a new spouse or partner.
Until now, a sponsored spouse or partner arriving in Canada as a permanent resident could leave their sponsor and sponsor another spouse or partner themselves, while their original sponsor was still financially responsible for them for up to three years.
Kenney says the decision follows a recent online poll and consultation with local interest groups. The proposal for a five-year sponsorship bar was prepublished in the Canada Gazette on April 2, 2011, and was open for a 30-day public comment period.
In addition to the sponsorship bar, further public consultations are also expected to begin in the coming weeks on a proposed conditional permanent residence measure. The measure aims to deter people in newer relationships from using their relationship to gain quick entry to Canada as permanent residents when they have no intention of staying with their sponsor.
The moves are the latest in a series by the CIC to curb the growing trend of marriage fraud which has become particularly worrying for immgration officials.
Legislation to crack down on crooked consultants came into force in June 2011 and last spring, CIC launched an anti-fraud campaign, which will be relaunched this month.
Kenney was joined by representatives of Canadians Against Immigration Fraud (CAIF) at Friday’s announcement.
“We welcome the steps taken by the Honourable Jason Kenney to stop marriage fraud,” said Sam S. Benet, president of CAIF. “These measures will definitely protect the integrity of our immigration system.”
Barring such sponsorships is consistent with similar restrictions imposed by Australia, New Zealand and the United States.
Friday’s changes are posted on Citizenship and Immigration Canada’s website