Immigration: Bringing Your Spouse To Canada

By James Metcalfe | February 17, 2011

by James Metcalfe – Pace Law Firm: We often have people ask for advice on how to solve the problem of rejected spousal sponsorship applications. The problem in these cases is that the sponsor spouse fails to persuade an immigration officer that the marriage is genuine. That is, the officer believes that the marriage was entered into primarily for the purposes of immigration to Canada, or what some call a “marriage of convenience.”

While short-term engagements or arranged marriages may be acceptable in some cultures and societies, immigration officers have become careful with them. These officers are concerned about marriages entered into without any intention of the parties to live together, and that couples may be using sponsorship as the vehicle to simply gain admission to Canada.

We’ve seen cases of marriages which were accepted as genuine and led to immigration to Canada, then were suddenly dissolved with a quick divorce and a remarriage to a third-party. After the second marriage ensues, the problem for the sponsor begins. Using the old adage of, “Fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me,” Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) get suspicious of these situations and take a hard look at the original sponsor spouse.

“The most important thing you can do to avoid having a spousal sponsorship application rejected is ensure that your application is put together properly”

CIC officers have long memories and a very good computer system, and I’ve seen them in action. We have had non-Canadian Citizen Sponsors being reported under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act for misrepresentation, which can – and in some circumstances did – lead to removal from Canada.

In cases of spousal sponsorship rejection,  you typically find that applications have been prepared and presented in a very haphazard manner, with little documentation to prove that there was an ongoing genuine relationship. An example would be: “I met her online and fell in love.” A very simple and straightforward story – and maybe even true – but to the trained eye of an immigration officer, the story won’t pass the smell test.

My goal here is not to frighten you, but to make sure that you start off on the right foot when you begin the application process. The most important thing you can do to avoid having a spousal sponsorship application rejected is ensure that your application is put together properly, and that your documentation is in excellent order. And remember: the more documentation, the better.

For these reasons, I highly recommend you contact an immigration law firm to handle the application in order to avoid disappointment and heartbreak.

Andy Semotiuk has more information in the video at the bottom of this post. Be sure to watch it, as it gives a good overview of the steps involved in handling a spousal sponsorship application. If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment on the blog, or contact us here.