New Spousal Sponsorship Rules Introduced By Canadian Government

The Government of Canada has announced that the long-discussed spousal sponsorship rules are now in effect. These rules will have a big impact on marriage immigration in Canada, and sometimes not for the better. 

New spousal sponsorship rules in place to combat marriage fraud

Immigration marriage fraud is a fraudulent exploitation of the Canadian spousal sponsorship program as a way to obtain permanent residency. In some cases, two people will marry in order for one person to obtain permanent residency, all the while their marriage is not legitimate and one of the spouses will soon split. In some of these cases, both spouses are in on the fraud, while in other cases, the sponsoring spouse has been “duped” and the spouse they’ve sponsored simply takes off.

In worst case scenarios, the sponsor has been tricked and the sponsored spouse starts collecting welfare which the sponsor is responsible for paying back.

Unfortunately, while these cases are very rare only the worst of them seem to make the news.

What are the new spousal sponsorship rules?

When someone sponsors someone to live in Canada as their spouse from another country, the two must live together in a “legitimate” relationship for two years, otherwise the sponsored spouse will lose their permanent resident status and could face deportation from Canada.

The new rule is only for couples who have been married for less than two years and who do not have any children.

One of the main concerns is that a spouse who is being abused by their sponsor will be too scared to leave the dangerous situation for fear of losing their permanent resident status. The government claims that if there is evidence of abuse the two-year requirement will be waived… but how many people who are in a domestic abuse situation are able to stay safe and get help, let alone deal with immigration department bureaucracy?

If you are an honest couple, you shouldn’t have anything to worry about – but how do you prove your marriage is “legitimate” when the love you feel for one another is an intangible thing? It can be difficult.

If you need assistance with your spousal sponsorship proceedings or are concerned about losing your permanent resident status in Canada, please contact us right away.

Any information provided here does not constitute legal advice and is intended for general information only. Should you require legal advise, you are encouraged to contact a lawyer directly. All blog postings are public and are not subject to solicitor/client confidentially. Case results depend on a variety of factors unique to each case, and case results do not guarantee or predict a similar result in any further case undertaken by the lawyer.

Tags: New Immigration Rules permanent resident status Spousal Sponsorship

About Michael Niren

Michael is a graduate of Osgoode Hall Law School in Toronto. He is a member of the Law Society of Upper Canada, the Canadian Bar Association’s Citizenship and Immigration Section and the American Bar Association. He is frequently called upon to appear in the media to discuss Canadian and US immigration issues effecting North Americans. He has been interviewed by Canada AM, CTV, Canada News Net, the Globe and Mail and the Toronto Star and has given lectures on immigration topics overseas.

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