May 6, 2013
Canadian Immigration Officials Face Criticism Regarding Marriage Fraud
With attention being brought to the high number of marriage fraud cases in the past years with changes to immigration procedures, the Canadian government is continuously cracking down on cases being brought to their attention. In retrospect, immigration officials are under criticism for dealing with matters too harshly, and in other cases, too leniently. Immigration officials have made marriage fraud a priority, however are receiving criticisms from groups feeling that not enough is being done to stop these individuals.
Sam Benet, founder of Canadians Against Immigration Fraud, comments that the “law is there, but there is no will to enforce it,” commenting on the effect of immigration and procedures in place to act on the 85 formal complaints filed by members of the organization. The group had successfully lobbied in Ottawa, however seen little action towards the complaints to border service officials.
The process of receiving spousal applications include assessing photos, communications, receipts that would all otherwise verify the conditions of a relationship and an official would then decipher the validity of the couple. The assessment may also include an interview with the spouse and sponsoring individual, and inland applicants may also face surprise visits to the couple’s home.
In one matter, Canada Border Services Agency had made an unannounced visit to a couple’s home, where the sponsored spouse failed to provide evidence of her husband living within her home. The officers had asked to see toiletries, as well as evidence of particles of his clothing, and despite not being able to produce the items requested, everything else was in line to indicate that it is a genuine relationship – joint bank accounts, insurance, ownerships of property. The couple’s sponsorship was rejected and their appeal was denied at Federal court.
Citizenship and Immigration refused to reveal their criteria used to decipher the genuinity of a sponsorship application, however there are a series of questions that ultimately lie at the discretion of the officer. Minister Jason Kenney has prioritized eliminating the issue of marriages for convenience after media reports of spouses parting ways after arriving in Canada. The new law that has taken effect as of October now requires sponsored spouses to remain together for two years before they can obtain permanent status, and disallows them to remarry for five years.
The new law, enacted in October, now requires sponsored spouses to remain in a relationship for two years before they can obtain permanent status, and bans the sponsored spouse from sponsoring a new spouse for five years. Two types of marriage fraud generally occur, that is when a Canadian is preyed upon by a spouse overseas, and where there is mutual involvement and knowledge that what they are doing is fake.
For more information on family class sponsorships, please visit our page here.