marriage certificateAs part of its ongoing efforts to reduce marriage fraud in Canada, Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) has introduced new legislation related to spousal sponsorship.

Certain sponsored spouses will now be required to live in a ‘legitimate relationship’ with their sponsor for two years after receiving permanent residency. If this is not adhered to, permanent residency status may be revoked. These measures apply to all applications received on or after October 25th, 2012.

The regulations apply to couples who have been in a relationship for two years or less and who share no children with their sponsor at the time they submit their application. Once permanent residency is received in Canada, the couple must continue their relationship for at least another two years.

An exception to the regulations has been put in place for partners suffering abuse and neglect. If evidence of such a relationship can be provided, and the abuse stems directly from the sponsor, the two-year relationship requirement will be waived.

“I have consulted widely with Canadians, and especially with victims of marriage fraud, who have told me clearly that we must take action to stop this abuse of our immigration system,” said Immigration Minister Jason Kenney. “Sometimes the sponsor in Canada is being duped and sometimes it’s a commercial transaction. Implementing a two-year conditional permanent residence period will help deter marriage fraud, prevent the callous victimization of innocent Canadians and help us put an end to these scams.”