Canada Introduces Sponsorship Restriction to Address Marriage Fraud

The Government of
Canada has put in place a bar on sponsorship in an ongoing effort to
deter people from using a marriage of convenience to come to Canada,
Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney
announced today.

Regulatory changes now in force mean sponsored spouses or partners
will have to wait five years from the day they are granted permanent
residence status in Canada to sponsor a new spouse or partner. Until
now, a sponsored spouse or partner arriving in Canada as a permanent
resident could leave their sponsor and sponsor another spouse or
partner themselves, while their original sponsor was still
financially responsible for them for up to three years.

“I held town hall meetings across the country to hear from victims of
marriage fraud,” said Minister Kenney. “In addition to the heartbreak
and pain that came from being lied to and deceived, these people were
angry. They felt they had been used as a way to get to Canada. We’re
taking action because immigration to Canada should not be built upon
deceit.”

Minister Kenney was joined by representatives of Canadians Against
Immigration Fraud (CAIF) at today’s announcement.

“We welcome the steps taken by the Honourable Jason Kenney to stop
marriage fraud,” said Sam S. Benet, President of CAIF. “These
measures will definitely protect the integrity of our immigration
system.”

Spousal sponsorship is open to abuse when a person enters into a
relationship – such as a marriage or a common law partnership – in
order to circumvent Canada’s immigration law. Concerned with the
problem, the Minister held online consultations in the fall of 2010
to gather public opinion and ideas on how to best address marriage
fraud.

“Many of the people who took part in the consultations made it
abundantly clear that marriage fraud poses a significant threat to
our immigration system,” added Minister Kenney. “Our government has
listened to the victims of marriage fraud and all Canadians, and
acted to crack down on those who engage in fraud and abuse Canadians’
generosity and our immigration system.”

Barring such sponsorships is consistent with similar restrictions
imposed by Australia, New Zealand and the United States.

The proposal for a five-year sponsorship bar was prepublished in the
Canada Gazette on April 2, 2011, and was open for a 30-day public
comment period. The changes coming into force today, March 2, are
posted on Citizenship and Immigration Canada’s website and will be
published in Part II of the Canada Gazette on March 14, 2012.

To show it is serious about cracking down on marriage fraud, CIC is
taking a number of steps to deter it. For example, in addition to the
sponsorship bar, further public consultations are also expected to
begin in the coming weeks on a proposed conditional permanent
residence measure. A Notice of Intent proposing the development of
this conditional measure was published in the Canada Gazette on March
26, 2011. The measure aims to deter people in newer relationships
from using their relationship to gain quick entry to Canada as
permanent residents when they have no intention of staying with their
sponsor.

In addition, legislation to crack down on crooked consultants came
into force in June 2011 and last spring, CIC launched an anti-fraud
campaign, which will be relaunched this month. This includes a short
video warning people not to be duped into committing marriage fraud.
The video directs people to a special link on the CIC website
(www.cic.gc.ca/antifraud) to find out how to immigrate to Canada the
right way.