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Married Immigrants Must Stay Together for Two Years or Face Expulsion - article

rjessome

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WINNIPEG — Married newcomers to Canada better be in love or be prepared tough it out in the relationship for two years if they don't want to be kicked out of the country.

Citizenship and Immigration Canada is changing Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations to make a sponsored spouse stay in the relationship for at least two years once they receive permanent residence status, or they have to leave Canada.

"For two years, you have to stay married," said Winnipeg Liberal MP Kevin Lamoureux, who heard the news on Valentine's Day as a member of the standing committee on Citizenship and Immigration. The government is bringing into force regulatory changes to deter marriage fraud, he said.

It will impose a two-year "conditional residency" on sponsored spouses, common-law partners and conjugal partners. If they don't stay in a bona fide relationship, they'll be removed by the Canada Border Services Agency, he said. Jilted spouses may be happy to see them get the heave-ho but victims of violent spouses could be in jeopardy, critics say.

"This is just dangerous," said Lamoureux. "The most vulnerable are those coming to Canada not knowing a soul."

Newcomer and women's advocates worry that the rule will make it more difficult for people to escape abusive relationships.

Ten per cent of the abused women who seek shelter at Osborne House in Winnipeg are newcomers to Canada, said Barbara Judt, executive director.

"We see it all the time," Judt said Wednesday. "Women are brought over — maybe through an arranged marriage — and literally, they're a prisoner in their own home. They can't go to the community — they hardly know the community," she said "Fortunately, they end up at our door."

Judt wants to know what immigration officials will do when a spouse who's been abused comes forward.

"We need more clarification on that," she said. "People working in the shelter need a better understanding for when we go to advocate on (a woman's behalf)."

The government is developing a process for allowing spouses to come forward without facing enforcement action but those and other details haven't been worked out, said Lamoureux.

Getting married to emigrate is against the rules and difficult to prove, Citizenship and Immigration said when it first proposed regulatory changes in March. It needed to do more "to deter individuals who might otherwise use a marriage of convenience to circumvent our immigration laws, and to protect the integrity of our immigration system," the department said in the Canada Gazette.

"It forces women to stay in a violent or abusive relationship for fear they could be deported if they don't do what their spouse says," said Winnipeg's Wanda Yamamoto, president of the Canadian Council for Refugees and executive director of Welcome Place. "They have that threat hanging over them."

She said she's not sure how the federal government will be able to work around the new regulations when an abused spouse leaves a marriage.

"The problem is, especially when they're sponsored through family class, some of that information doesn't get to family members," Yamamoto said.

"They don't know who they can trust — will it get back to their husband?"

There are people who marry to get into Canada but, Yamamoto said, "it's very sporadic." She wants the federal government to provide some data if it's taking such steps.

The Citizenship and Immigration Department says "firm figures" on the extent of marriage fraud are not available. Of the 46,300 immigration applications for spouses and partners processed in 2010, close to 16 per cent were refused for different reasons — "many" on the basis of evidence that the relationship was not bona fide.


Read more: http://www.globalwinnipeg.com/Married+immigrants+have+stay+together+years+face+expulsion/6160581/story.html#ixzz1mZJG04Gq

Still no changes to the Regulations yet.
 
 

ddobro2

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So it's really happening. You say no changes to the regulations yet but when do you see this coming into force? And I presume it's not retroactive........? This will be quite a change although I don't see at this point how well they'll be able to enforce it....and how it will coexist with the 3-year sponsorship agreement.

Thanks for sharing.
 

ddobro2

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I agree with you that inlanders are probably the least of CIC's concerns regarding marriage fraud. The article seems to say that the clock starts upon landing, however:

"Citizenship and Immigration Canada is changing Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations to make a sponsored spouse stay in the relationship for at least two years once they receive permanent residence status, or they have to leave Canada."

CanAusGal said:
Well if you apply in Canada, it will be 2 years by the time you get your PR anyway :p
 

rjessome

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ddobro2 said:
I agree with you that inlanders are probably the least of CIC's concerns regarding marriage fraud. The article seems to say that the clock starts upon landing, however:

"Citizenship and Immigration Canada is changing Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations to make a sponsored spouse stay in the relationship for at least two years once they receive permanent residence status, or they have to leave Canada."
You only receive PR status AT landing. Same thing.

ddobro2 said:
So it's really happening. You say no changes to the regulations yet but when do you see this coming into force? And I presume it's not retroactive........? This will be quite a change although I don't see at this point how well they'll be able to enforce it....and how it will coexist with the 3-year sponsorship agreement.

Thanks for sharing.
The proposed changes were introduced in March 2011. I have no idea when they will come into force or of any amendments that might be implemented. This is no small task as they have to set up a whole system to get conditions removed as well as cases involving extraordinary circumstances such as abuse. This will have no impact on the 3 year undertaking. And my assumption would be that any new Regs would not be retroactive for people who were issued a PR visa BEFORE they come into force. But I suspect they will apply to anyone who is in process and has not been issued a visa yet.
 
 

ddobro2

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Yep, I know, I was using "landing" as a synonym for attaining PR status and pointing it out because the other poster was talking about inlanders being together for two years while waiting out the process.
rjessome said:
You only receive PR status AT landing. Same thing.

The proposed changes were introduced in March 2011. I have no idea when they will come into force or of any amendments that might be implemented. This is no small task as they have to set up a whole system to get conditions removed as well as cases involving extraordinary circumstances such as abuse. This will have no impact on the 3 year undertaking. And my assumption would be that any new Regs would not be retroactive for people who were issued a PR visa BEFORE they come into force. But I suspect they will apply to anyone who is in process and has not been issued a visa yet.
 

ddobro2

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I guess they are doing this in response to how many sponsors end up having to pay up when the PR goes on welfare, but this would only work, unless I fail to see something, if the PR is indeed removed from Canada. Well, he or she wouldn't be a PR anymore either, as I see it. So suppose a sponsored spouse decides to quit the relationship (however CIC will determine that) before the clock strikes 2 years on his or her getting PR. And then that person is made to leave Canada as a result and they go back to their country of origin. That PR status has been cancelled then. The Canadian sponsor has no more requirements to support that person because he or she is no longer on Canadian soil and/or is no longer a Canadian PR. So CIC would have to amend their statement on the undertaking, which I think currently just says that one is obligated to financially support their spouse or partner for the entire 3-year duration of their undertaking, and this obligation is not changed by circumstances like breakdown of relationship or divorce, but only in the event of the death of one or both parties. Now they would have to add that the undertaking would also be cancelled if the spouse or partner had his or her PR status revoked/are "made to leave Canada." Is that correct? It's funny to think that years ago, the length of the sponsorship undertaking was 10 (!!!) years, and now we're at the point of someone being able to get out of even a 3-year commitment early.

rjessome said:
This will have no impact on the 3 year undertaking.
 

TheHal

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I think this is good!

Might make some of the 'shadier' dealings hesitate a little more, before they get married.

As an aside, I just got married, and she sponsored me, but I love her, and will not leave her!

Cheers
H.
 

CharlieD10

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If they're gonna do it, they should just go ahead and git 'er done. They've been talking about and around this since March 2011, they have their majority in government, it's not like they can be stopped if they want to ram it through.

I'm jaded to the point now where all I can say is, bring it. Systems like these don't stop the determined scammers, they merely inconvenience genuine couples by adding to the hoops we have to jump through.

As for concerns about abused spouses being trapped in bad relationships by having this held over their heads too, all I have to say about that is that MANY are the things held over people's heads to force them to remain in bad relationships, one more threat will make little difference. Either someone in a bad relationship is going to get out, or they're going to stay. Legislation forces no-one to do anything. What we think, believe and fear are our primary motivators, and culture, socialisation and society are all in the mix.
 
 

JimM

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TheHal said:
I think this is good!

Might make some of the 'shadier' dealings hesitate a little more, before they get married.

As an aside, I just got married, and she sponsored me, but I love her, and will not leave her!

Cheers
H.
I don't think it will help much, much of the marriage fraud is done by people wanting to escape poverty. If their choice is putting up with somebody for 2 years or staying in poverty, what makes you think it will deter many of them? It may however make it harder to find Canadians willing to participate in fraudulent marriages though. But how many of the sponsors are knowingly doing this and how many are lonely people conned by their partner?
 

rjessome

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Another article today: http://www.ottawacitizen.com/Danger+policy+change/6178800/story.html

Danger in policy change


BY MARISA BERRY MÉNDEZ, OTTAWA CITIZEN FEBRUARY 20, 2012



Re: Immigrant marriage fraudster finally deported, Feb. 14.

Stories about Canadians such as Lainie Towell being duped into marriage by foreigners who don't actually love them and who plan to abandon them upon arrival in Canada are indeed sad, and anyone who has ever felt unrequited love can sympathize.

Unfortunately, people are used by their romantic partners all the time - sometimes knowingly, sometimes not - for money, social status, and sometimes, immigration status.

Should conflict arising from such situations be resolved through policy change? This question becomes all the more crucial on examination of the proposed regulatory change, which would make permanent residence for sponsored partners conditional for at least two years. If the relationship breaks down and the sponsored person leaves their partner, they will lose their status in Canada and could be deported.

This proposal has been decried by more than 70 women's groups and newcomer's organizations across Canada, because in cases where sponsored partners arrive in Canada to discover that their partners are abusive or violent, they would be trapped in these relationships for fear of deportation. It would put all the power in the hands of the sponsor, who may use the threat of denouncement and deportation as a tool to manipulate the vulnerable partner.

Visa offices abroad already devote considerable resources to screening relationships. Canadian law has provisions that can be used to charge immigrants (even criminally) for misrepresentation in their applications - this is how Towell was finally able to see her ex-husband Fode Mohamed Soumah deported. The proposed change is not only unnecessary, but would give abusive partners increased power over their victims.

Marisa Berry MÉNDEZ, Montreal



Read more: http://www.ottawacitizen.com/Danger+policy+change/6178800/story.html#ixzz1mwGDK6VI
 

cantor2537

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It's a big problem in the US because many from Asia and other countries come to the US through fake marriages. Now, they get a conditional PR and they actually get random checks to see if your house has photos, are living together, etc.
 

ddobro2

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I may be wrong, and I have no statistics to back it up, but I tend to believe that MOCs in which the sponsor is in on it are a minority of MOCs, which is a shame because it's when one person is being duped that the heartache begins. After all, if I were desperate for the papers, I'd think it would be a lot easier and a lot less risky for one person to play the role to immigration authorities than it is for two. On the other hand, there's a lot of cooperation possible when there's payment involved. My husband told me of a Moroccan couple he knows where the woman payed the man $10,000 to sponsor her for PR and she got it. Even here, there's always a risk though - what's to say she can't recoup her investment by going on welfare and having her sponsor pay the bill?

And on CharlieD's note, I think they might as well just make the PR conditional on 3 years, not 2, together, so it overlaps with the undertaking term.
JimM said:
I don't think it will help much, much of the marriage fraud is done by people wanting to escape poverty. If their choice is putting up with somebody for 2 years or staying in poverty, what makes you think it will deter many of them? It may however make it harder to find Canadians willing to participate in fraudulent marriages though. But how many of the sponsors are knowingly doing this and how many are lonely people conned by their partner?
 
 

Danny4450

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Does anyone know when this could come into effect? Would this effect the cases in processing right now or would this only start for applicants who will file after it comes into effect?
 

ddobro2

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It's not yet known.
rjessome said:
The proposed changes were introduced in March 2011. I have no idea when they will come into force or of any amendments that might be implemented.
Danny4450 said:
Does anyone know when this could come into effect? Would this effect the cases in processing right now or would this only start for applicants who will file after it comes into effect?