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Marriage of convenience

Discussion in 'Family Class Sponsorship' started by joecreosta, Jul 17, 2010.

  1. Hello friends I was reading newspapers today and I found very interesting news article on thestar.com

    Canadian Immigration and Canadian Border Security agencies are now going after the people who use Canadians citizens as key to get inside Canada faking their love stories and hurting poor innocent Canadiens emotionaly and financialy.




    She lives in northern India and dreams of moving to a city called Toronto. She has some family there.

    And she knows how to get there with no long wait and a minimum of paperwork: All she has to do is find a Canadian to marry her.

    Once married, she is granted permanent resident status. Once in Canada, all she needs to do to begin her new life is abandon him.

    The entire ugly process can be completed in a matter of months. That’s how easy it is.

    And the consequences? Almost none. Those who marry fraudulently are rarely deported.

    “It’s one of the biggest challenges for immigration,” said Richard Kurland, Vancouver-based veteran immigration policy analyst and immigration lawyer. “The problem knows no colour, no language.”

    “The only people getting hurt are Canadians — in their hearts and their wallets,” he said.

    Hundreds of fraudulent marriages take place every year. Citizenship and Immigration Canada acknowledges roughly 1,000 such cases are reported annually. In 2009, nearly 45,000 people immigrated to Canada as spouses.

    “These are complicated cases,” said Doug Kellam, an immigration spokesman. “It is tough to prove bad faith by a sponsored partner.”

    A bad-faith relationship must meet two criteria — that it is not genuine and that it was entered into to obtain immigration status.

    CIC and Canada Border Services Agency do investigate immigration-related fraud but fraudulent marriages aren’t really a priority. Their main focus is on issues of national security.

    CBSA has eight officers to investigate bad-faith marriages. There are about 350 immigration enforcement officers across Canada.

    Last year, CBSA deported 14,762 people, said Patrizia Giolti, spokesperson for the agency. But there are no statistics on how many people are deported because of “misrepresentation,” she added.

    “I bet none were related to fraudulent marriages,” said Sam Benet, president of Canadians Against Immigration Fraud.

    The Toronto-based non-profit organization, which boasts almost 200 members across Canada, came into being after Benet’s son, Saranjeet Benet, was allegedly abandoned by his wife days after she arrived in Canada from India.

    The organization launched a class-action lawsuit in 2009 against the federal government for failing to investigate and deport foreigners who trick Canadians into marriages of convenience.

    At least 70 per cent of the cases are from South Asia, he said.

    “It’s not a new phenomenon . . . foreigners have been defrauding us for years but what has the government done? Nothing,” said Benet, whose family is still scarred by what happened years ago. “She divided our family. . . it can never be the same again for us.”

    Abandoned spouses are angry about what happened to them but they also worry they could be on the hook for thousands of dollars.

    Fraudulent marriage or not, a Canadian sponsor remains obligated financially to a foreign spouse for up to three years under the terms of sponsorship. That means if the spouse ends up on government assistance, the sponsor must repay the government and risks being denied future sponsorships.

    Even if they divorce, the Canadian sponsor remains financially obligated if the spouse goes on welfare.

    The sponsorship period was 10 years but it was reduced to three years a couple of years ago.

    In some cases, the government has asked sponsors to cough up as much as $100,000.

    “Imagine being asked to pay money for a fiancée who has abandoned you?” said Jeff Vanderhorst. “That would be brutal.”

    The Amherstburg, Ont.-native met Yennis Escobar Pompa in Cuba in 1999. Four years later, he sponsored her to Canada as his fiancée.

    In three weeks, she disappeared, said Vanderhorst, now 48.

    He complained to immigration and border services numerous times that Pompa had broken the terms of sponsorship, which specified the couple had to marry within 90 days.

    Nothing was done, he said.

    In the next couple of years, he discovered that she had obtained permanent residency and was living on welfare in Montreal.

    No claim has yet been made on him but Vanderhorst, who is still angry about how immigration handled his case, is on the hook until 2013.

    Seven years after she disappeared, he’s still very bitter. “I don’t trust women. . . . Yes, I am still hung up about it,” he said. “Until it happens to you, you'll never know how it hurts.”

    Fraudulent marriages hurt Canadians the most and immigration laws need to be tightened, say some experts.

    One proposal is to introduce a provisional visa valid for two years for new spouses. “Australia has it, so does the U.S.,” pointed out Julie Taub, an immigration lawyer.

    Under this provision, if the marriage is still intact after the second year, the immigrating spouse can apply for a permanent visa.

    It doesn’t eliminate the problem “but does make it slightly tougher for people to plan elaborate marriage frauds,” said Richard Kurland.

    Not everyone agrees.

    There are concerns that a temporary visa would force women to stay in abusive relationships.

    “It creates a class of vulnerable people living in Canada,” said Rudolf Kischer, a well-known immigration lawyer in Vancouver.

    He believes people need to be educated about the pitfalls of marrying outside Canada.

    Those who get permanent status in Canada through fraud are eventually able to sponsor their own family members, said Taub.

    It’s what she calls chain migration based on an original fraud.

    Citizenship and Immigration Canada is planning to tighten policies to prevent people from gaining permanent residency through marriage fraud, said spokesperson Doug Kellam.

    The sponsorship program is hard on some people and “minister (Jason) Kenney is looking at changes,” said Kellam. “He is consulting with different groups and looking at how the law might be structured to deal with this kind of a situation.”

    Vanderhorst says he’ll be very happy if the law is overhauled.

    “It won’t change anything for me personally but it’ll be a deterrent for foreigners who play with our emotions, make fools of us,” he said. “We can't let them get away with it.”
    Kashmir Janagal

    His was a fairy tale wedding.

    Markham’s Kashmir Janagal flew to Punjab, India, with his parents and a half-dozen relatives in early 2008. There were three pre-weddings parties, hundreds of guests and on Feb. 16, he married Parveen Kumari, a woman he and his family had known for years.

    Janagal, now 34, returned home and filed his wife’s sponsorship papers. She flew to Toronto on Feb. 8, 2009. Janagal says his wife’s uncle, who lives in Montreal, was also at the airport. Eventually, everyone went to Janagal’s home.

    “She didn’t want to talk to me but only to her uncle,” said Janagal, who was then training to be a primary school teacher.

    He left for work the next day. When he returned, she was gone. Janagal says he tried calling dozens of time — there was no answer. Finally, he filed a missing person’s report. A few days later, she filed assault charges against him.

    He next saw Kumari this January at the trial, where charges against him were dismissed.

    It was vindication but not enough. “She has taken two years of my life. . . . The emotional pain is unbelievable,” said Janagal. “You fall totally in love and realize you’ve been used. I’ve lost faith in people.”

    Janagal, who is still married to Kumari, has complained to CIC, CBSA and the Prime Minister’s office. “I’ll keep at it until I know what’s happening with her.”
    Cindy Green

    She was devastated when it happened; now she’s at peace.

    “I know the government works slowly but I have faith . . . he will be deported eventually.”

    Cindy Green, now 52, met Francisco Vargas while on holiday in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, in 2003. They got married in October 2004, 18 months after they had first met. Vargas came to Canada in December 2005.

    Green, who lives in Woodbridge, says everything was fine the first month and he even started working at a local restaurant. “In January, he started to change,” she said. He got upset at the slightest reason and “tried to provoke me into fights at every opportunity.”

    On Jan. 31, 2006, seven weeks after landing in Toronto, he left without an explanation.

    When Canada Border Services Agency didn’t do anything, Green hired a private detective in Punta Cana. Within weeks, he found that Vargas had a common-law wife and four children with her.

    Armed with proof, she went to the border agency. Privacy issues still prevent her from knowing what exactly is going on “but I know that he has a deportation hearing soon.”

    Green says she’s not bitter any more. “I just feel that we have to keep fighting to change our immigration system. Why is it that very few people are deported even though it’s proven they used marriage as a way to get to Canada?”
    Evan Wilson

    Evan Wilson, 36, of St. Thomas, Ont. met Yaemin Garcia Gonzalez while holidaying in Havana in September 2008.

    There was an instant connection with the 23-year-old. He spent about five days with her and then returned to Canada. One thing led to another and they were married in Havana in December 2008, her young daughter by her side.

    In January 2010, she arrived in Toronto. The two lived happily for some weeks. Then Wilson said he happened to see her email.

    “She had written to her friend that her ex-boyfriend wanted her to claim abuse against me and go to a shelter,” he said.

    He says he begged her to come clean. She said she wanted to go home. He bought her a ticket but she never boarded the flight. Wilson doesn’t know how but Gonzalez somehow wound up in Miami and then in Louisville, Kentucky.

    “She’s illegal there and they will deport her . . . but to Canada and she’ll go on welfare here,” said Wilson. “She should go back to Cuba.”

    Wilson has called and written to Citizenship and Immigration Canada and Canada Border Services Agency dozens of time. He says the two government agencies don’t care that she was charged with prostitution in 2005 and 2007 or that she circumvented the law here.

    “There are too many such stories,” said Wilson. “Something needs to be done and quickly.”
    Deepinder Mann

    He had heard stories of brides and grooms abandoning their spouses once they reached Canada but Deepinder Mann never thought it would happen to him.

    “I was marrying someone very close to my family in India,” said Mann, 36, a Brampton realtor.

    He married Ranjit Kaur, 31, in Punjab, India, in January 2009. Mann says he spent two weeks with her but they did not consummate the marriage. He says he sensed something was wrong but she convinced him that she would be more comfortable once she lived with him in Canada.

    She came to Canada in September but didn’t stay with Mann for long. She went to her aunt’s place, said Mann. When he went to talk to the aunt, he says he was told that his wife didn’t want to live with him.

    “It slowly unravelled that she had a boyfriend in India . . . I was even given a letter in which she had admitted to it all,” said Mann.

    Kaur returned to India within weeks and Mann wrote to Citizenship and Immigration Canada and Canada Border Services Agency, warning them against letting her into Canada again.

    He also went to India and registered cheating cases against Kaur and her family.

    In March, he discovered that she had come to Canada again.

    “I complained to everyone and she still managed to come here,” said Mann. “The system is so soft and easy to abuse. It doesn’t happen anywhere else.”
  2. I agree with Rudolf Kischer, the well-known immigration lawyer in Vancouver.
    Canadians just need to be educated about the pitfalls of marrying outside Canada. Period.
    Most of these sponsors knew the extended family & were still dumped. Imagine if you are ONLY close to your spouse & barely know the relatives. . . :eek:
  3. I noticed, none of these sponsors that are regretting their sponsorship now are saying "wow, I screwed up and misjudged the situation" or "wow, I was taken advantage of". They want to blame the immigration officials, but they probably put together a solid case!! I would rather people who can prove relationships (as all of these people were obviously able to do) be let in to Canada than to have even more scrutiny and suspicion placed on honest people.

    But, instead of the more honest "be careful that you really know who you are sponsoring" moral, the reader is left with the impression that anyone can just waltz right into Canada on PR. Those of us agonizing and stressing and suffering through the PR process might disagree.

    I mean, yes, there are lots of jerks out there, and many people probably want to take advantage of the privileges of a life in Canada and are willing to do whatever it takes to get there, but it is hard to read all those stories of sponsors putting the responsibility of having sponsored a criminal/fraud blame CIC for allowing them into Canada in the first place!!!

    just my opinion, as someone who took the sponsorship agreement seriously...
  4. True Minna. i didnt even notice that. ;)

    I would take full responsibility for making such a huge mistake.

    My husband and I have known each other personally since we were 10 & 11 years old.We have dated on and off throughout our teenage & adult lives until finally deciding to get married.

    I would be terrifed to randomly sponsor a man Ive just met. :-[
  5. Thanks Joe for posting. I read this article with interest down at the local diner this morning and thought I should post a link. Then I got home and forgot all about it ??? Sometimes I wonder where my mind has gone.
  6. Hey Allison, we're all here to help each other out. I think people who say "screw the system" should really themselves be "screwed". They make these decisions of marrying someone overseas without going through the process of getting to know each other. and then they blame our "system".

    System is good and process is well maintained. Sponsors needs to be more careful when going overseas for 2 week vacation and then falling in love with the hotel-made or the room cleaning boys and girls. You think these marriages will last?

    I know many cases on this forum where poor innocent Canadian women have been scammed and used by their spouses after coming to Canada from overseas. I won't name those countries because you can already see my rating is down to -45 and growing....lol

    Here's the issue for the innocent Canadians when they fall in love with their spouses over the internet.
    1) they do NOT speak same language
    2) spouse overseas knows little English or not at all
    3) no communication with spouse's family overseas, only husband wife aint enough for this marriage game
    4) spouses not having any education on western canadian culture
    5) sponsors not knowing their spouses family culture relgious values
    6) sponsors not giving enough time to understand each other and their cultures
    7) sponsors not knowing differences between two religions
    8) sponsors just being so desperate to bring someone new to their life from overseas, forgetting about their own back-yard sales (u can find plenty at bars clubs)
    9) sponsors not consulting with their families and friends before importing a husband from overseas
    10) this one is funny, sponsors and applicants claiming to have been fallen in love before even seeing each other in person

    I strongly beleive that Canada should also give abour 12 to 24 months to the applicants before they can receive their PR card in hand. This way we can clear out a lot of rats and cockroaches.

    I apologize to anyone if I might have offended anyone, but now it is getting really sad to see my fellow Canadians having to go through yet another stupid game.....

  7. But joecreosta the TRUTH HURTS! You have my + rating because your post is both realistic & logical. lol :p

    Seriously, Ive witnessed too many cases of WOMEN getting used. The Principal applicant is the perfect MAN until he get his PR. Then he finds fault with everything, including the sponsor. Moves out or changes provinces, even moving back to his home country to re-marry an old girlfriend who
    re-surfaces (but was really there all along). The sponsor is left embarrassed, depressed, & alienated by friends and family who 'told her so.' I absolutely agree with you; falling in love over the internet, not developing a close relationship with the principal applicants relatives, or falling in love with the hotel maid on vacation is just stupid. IO's should be especially critically if the sponsor is bringing their own children into that mess.

    I agree that the system is good and the process should continue to be strict. . . ;)
  8. Thanks GTWIFEY, ya I love you too :) first time I have a supporter amongst hundereds.

    its just getting too much now, women falling for the room service staff, now gimmy a break! not speaking the same language of the spouse and keep close relationship with the in-laws......How can they? impossible. cant speak same language DUHHHH

    withouth naming anyone, but soon you will hear another thestar.com post which would be one of my very good friend's on this website. she had been cheated the same way with a little twist......you will all get to read on newspapers.

  9. Definitely true that Canadians need to be VERY careful when marrying abroad... actually, anyone should be very careful when marrying in general, but obviously when sponsoring someone from abroad the risks are higher. Joecreosta puts it bluntly, but his points are definitely valid and I agree with them.

    I'm a Canadian living abroad and working in the tourism industry. It's incredible the number of women AND men I've seen get swindled... not just Canadians.... and some intelligent people at that. Then again, I've also seen many cases of people meeting for a week, getting married, and remaining together in a "normal" marriage.

    I guess you just have to be extremely cautious and aware that there are many many people who would do ANYTHING to come to Canada.

    That being said, I don't think it's the government's resposibility to babysit us. If someone gets screwed over, I think that's terrible, but it's ultimately their responsibility.
  10. Hey reegs buddy thanks for your comment. ya maybe my way is little harsh but i expose the reality. there's no more room for being sweet. better be bitter than sorry later.

    ur right Canada cannot babysit everyone's relationship. so u have to be careful picking a spouse from the internet. i dont mind canadians getting married to americans.its ok because of cultural values are the same language same food same clothes same. only beer is different, we like our Molson Canadien and they like their Corona

  11. Wow, I have never read something so judgemental in my life! First of all, how can you judge Canadian Women for how they fall in love?! When meeting on the internet and people fall in love, who are you to say it isn't real just because they didn't ever meet face to face first!? Being able to communicate with someone online/telephone for hours upon hours is a fantastic way to truly get to know someone. You don't have other crap getting in the way (ie. sex). You learn a lot about someone this way!!!
    Also, I'll name one of the countries that you were too afraid to name where people meet the hotel staff while on vacation, fall in love and get married (since I'm married to one myself)...Dominican Republic! Of course my husband is still there while we wait for his application for PR to be processed and approved, but I have many friends who have husbands from DR and the husbands are with them in Canada, have been for years and they are as real of a marriage as you can get! Bad relationships/marriages happen everywhere, to speak so negatively about someone because they are from a certain country is ludacris and racist! No relationship is guaranteed to work out, someone can be scammed/used just as easily from someone in Canada or the US as they can be from any other country in the world! I know I have had my fair share of idiot men from Canada thinking they can take advantage of me. Get over yourself and get a life! And BTW, I do know these scams do happen from places such as DR, but for you to assume all Canadian women are scammed by men in these countries is dead wrong...they aren't all bad!
  12. rock on...couldn't have said it better myself!!!!!!!!!
  13. Why thank you Lois Lane ;D
  14. Wow that is def an east coast girl hahahaha they will put you in your place everytime.But to make a long story short.Anyone can be scammed anytime, anywhere, and from anywhere.There is a crap load of scamming sites on the internet and if you look they are from the far east to the far west,from the far north to the far south.Everywhere,but like east coast said not everyone who comes ferom a certain country are scammers.
    Joe you need to word your stuff more carefully these girls will eat you up for dinner.Love comes from all walks of this world and their race or where they come from has nothing to do with it.Brazil has a higher than normal rate for this,along with a few other countries,and yes even Canada and the US but if someone was to say that everyone from Brazil was scamming i would loose my stuff on you too.So east coast girl you go girl.
    Ive seen guys and girls get scammed by Russians,Ukranians,Americans,Brazilians,Dominican Republic and on and on but it is no where for someone to say everyone in those countries are scamming,as we see on here that people are on here from those countries with all the true, real, reasons.
  15. Thanks iarblue...

    I am not totally naive, my own husband could be scamming me...nothing in life is a guarantee and I suppose I won't know for certain until he is in Canada with me. I have taken a chance at love and am risking a lot, however as I said before, they aren't all in it for the scam!

    I do agree that Immigration Canada needs to be strict for good reason, but I do hate when you hear of someone that is truly in a "real" marriage being denied. I would never blame the government for approving my husband to come to Canada only to find out he wasn't in it for love but for the PR, I am in my marriage with open eyes and realise I am the one that took the chance and would have to deal with the consequences if it was in fact a false marriage on his part (I am very much in love and happy).

    I stand by everything I said in my previous post and hope certain people will be able to stop being so judgemental. We are all on here for the same reason, we want to be with our spouses, so who is anyone to say my marriage isn't genuine because my husband is from a certain country.

    I am starting to rant again...so suppose I should shut up now :-X

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