March 28, 2011
Proposed Sponsorship Reforms
The Harper government is suggesting a proposal that immigrants coming to Canada, under spousal sponsorship, must stay in the relationship for at least two years after arrival before being granted formal permanent residence. Those who have been in a relationship with a Canadian sponsor for less than two years will be given “conditional permanent residence” at first.
This proposal is in response to the amount of marriage fraud, which accounts for around 16% of the 46 300 immigrant applications processed last year. Canada is taking a strong stance against marriage and immigration fraud, bringing its policies in line with other countries such as the United States, Britain, and Australia.
The public now has 30 days to comment on the federal proposal. This proposal tackles the area of spousal sponsorships because both parties, involved in a spousal sponsorship, may be using the system for immigration purposes. Even if one party is genuine, the other may not always be. Lastly, the government proposes to introduce a “sponsorship bar” that would prevent sponsored partners and spouses from sponsoring a new partner for five years.