Family Class Sponsorships
Marriage Not Annulled
Q. I write to you as I read your column in the newspaper every week for the sake of my friend’s problem. He was sponsored by his wife and arrived in Canada last January 2008, with his 2 sons, only to discover that his wife was living with another man. They agreed to have a divorce and they got it sometimes in 2009. Meanwhile, he has a girlfriend in the Philippines, a single mother. He went home last Feb 2010 and they married. In the Philippines, there is no divorce; the marriage must be annulled, which was not. Now he wants to sponsor his girlfriend/now wife to Canada, including her daughter. Is there any problem from the immigration point of view?
A. Very good question. It appears as though his ex-wife commenced a relationship with another man in Canada while he was living in a common-law relationship with somebody else in the Philippines. There is more to this question than meets the eye. First, if they were both living in a common-law relationship, she in Canada and he in the Philippines, his sponsorship could be questioned. Meaning was the marriage only for immigration purposes? A finding in this regard could translate into deportation proceedings for your friend.
Generally a person who is separated from a spouse and living with somebody else in a common-law relationship may still sponsor the person as his common-law partner even if not divorced. However, if he lived with her for over a year and did not declare her on his permanent residency application as a past common law partner – this too could raise legal challenges. In short, the timing and length of his relationship will be critical determining factors. He should seek out legal counsel immediately. Good luck!