November 27, 2009
Q I am an avid fan reader of your column and I would appreciate your help in solving my problems in sponsoring my family living abroad. I am divorced from my first wife in my home country. She is also an immigrant. Back home, while married, I had an illicit relationship with another woman with 3 children. Last year, after my divorce, I sponsored them, but my application was refused for the reason that divorce in our country is not allowed. Do you think I am qualified to sponsor them under the conjugal partner category, since I support them financially? We never lived together, but I always talk to them. What is the chance that the immigration officials grant my request?
A. This is a complex question that requires extensive analysis. As you never lived with your partner a common law sponsorship is not possible. The test for conjugal relationships includes a committed and mutually interdependent relationship of at least one year where the couple has combined their affairs to the extent possible. This applies to people where a marriage is not possible combined with an immigration barrier (for example, rules preventing partner and sponsor from long stays in one another’s countries). Not sure if you would meet this threshold. Although, this sounds open ended it is a difficult immigration category. Marriage and a spousal sponsorship may prove more effective but consult with an immigration lawyer. Good luck!