Canadian Immigration Cracks Down On Marriage Fraud

By James Metcalfe | March 30, 2011

by James Metcalfe – Pace Law Firm: On March 26, Citizenship and Immigration Canada notified the world that they will crack down on marriage fraud. They published their plans in the Canada Gazette. The plans include imposing conditional permanent resident status of two years or more for sponsored spouses or partners who have been in a relationship for less than two years prior to filing a sponsorship application.

While this looks very good on paper, I personally do not think it will work in practice. Unlike other countries where sponsored spouses are given a conditional status, there is no plan in Canada for a proactive review of all such cases within the two-year period. With over 45,000 spousal sponsorships being approved on an annual basis, it would require a small army of investigators to review these cases. Instead, the government will concentrate on rooting out those cases which come to their attention, and let the conditional status lapse after two years for all cases in which the status had been imposed.

Obviously, a couple can conspire together to defeat the intent of this proposal. Keep your head down and mouth shut for two years and you will be home free. On the other hand, it will stop what we call in our practice “runaway brides and grooms,” who never intend to live with their spouses and instead disappear as soon as they arrive in the country.

The Ministry is asking for our views on the subject, and we will certainly make our opinions heard. Please feel free to post comments here so that we can share your views with them as well.