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Conditional permanent residence proposed to deter marriages of convenience

Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Jason Kenney announced measures to strengthen Canada’s ability to crack down on marriage fraud.

Under the new proposal, a spouse or partner from abroad being sponsored by a Canadian or permanent resident would be required to live together with their sponsor in a legitimate relationship for two years following receipt of their permanent resident status in Canada. If these steps are not pursued, the sponsored spouse or partner’s status could be revoked, possibly leading to their removal and in some instances, criminal charges could also be laid. For all legitimate relationships, the condition would cease to apply once the conditional period has elapsed.

The proposed conditional measure would help deter people from engaging in a relationship, such as a marriage or a common law partnership, for the purpose of acquiring status or privilege under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.This measure would apply to all spouses in relationships of two years or less who have no children with their sponsor at the time of the sponsorship application.

“Our objective is to weed out people trying to use a phony marriage as a quick and easy route to Canada,” said Kenney.

“In town hall meetings I held in 2010 with victims of marriage fraud, I heard first-hand from victims who were still suffering the consequences years later. They implored me to do something to stop this from happening to others.”

This follows on the heels of a recent separate measure.

Effective March 2, this year, sponsored spouses or partners are ineligible to sponsor a new spouse or partner for five years from the day that they are granted permanent residence status in Canada.

“The problem of marriage fraud is serious and will only get worse if we don’t put measures in place that protect the integrity of our immigration system while deterring people from trying to use a marriage of convenience to cheat their way into Canada,” added Kenney. 

Posted: Sep 4, 2012

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