Government Proposes to Crack Down on Partnership Shams

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Partnership should last two years before permanent residence is granted



Image source from katerha on flickr

In an effort to curb abuse of immigration laws, the federal government is proposing that a Canadian sponsor must remain in a partnership with their sponsored spouse or partner for two years in Canada before the sponsored party can seek permanent residence status.  During the two years, the immigrant would be granted a “conditional permanent residence”, according to the federal notice.

If the partnership is discovered to be fraudulent, the sponsor may be subject to having their permanent residence status revoked, which could result in their removal from Canada.

People can take advantage of immigration system with fraudulent partnership

While the government believes that most relationships are genuine, they admit that the spousal sponsorship program allows for people to abuse the system.  Sometimes, both the sponsor and the partner from abroad are aware of their duplicitous actions, but in other situations, the partner from abroad will trick the sponsor of his or her intentions for the opportunity to immigrate.

There are no statistics that indicate how many partnerships are considered illegitimate, but in 2010, the government refused 16% of the 46,300 immigration applications.  Besides fraudulent relationships, the applications were rejected because of other reasons such as criminal history, security or medical issues.

Town hall meetings and online consultation questioned public on partnership shams

The notice was created in response to discussions about marriages of convenience with the public at town hall meetings with Immigration Minister Jason Kenney held in Vancouver, Montreal, and Brampton, Ontario.  In addition, 2,342 people from across Canada responded to an online consultation conducted by Citizenship and Immigration Canada.

According to the notice, “Most considered the issue to be a threat to the integrity of Canada’s immigration system.”

The United States, Britain and Australia have similar policies where a new partnership must last during a two-year conditional period prior to the permanent residence process.

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