Canadian immigration tightens spousal sponsorship rules
09 March 2012
For concise and recent immigration information watch our news.Canadian Citizenship and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney announced 5 March that the government was tightening spousal sponsorship rules in an ongoing effort to deter people from undertaking marriages of convenience to come to Canada.
"I held town hall meetings across the country to hear from victims of marriage fraud," said Kenney. "In addition to the heartbreak and pain that came from being lied to and deceived, these people were angry. They felt they had been used as a way to get to Canada. We're taking action because immigration to Canada should not be built upon deceit."
Spousal sponsorship becomes abuse of the immigration system when a person enters into a relationship, such as a marriage or common law partnership, in order to circumvent Canada's immigration law. Australia, New Zealand and the US have similar restrictions on spousal sponsorship. For example, Australian immigration law states that if the sponsor was sponsored or nominated to Australia as a partner, they must wait five years before sponsoring a different partner.
"We welcome the steps taken by the Honourable Jason Kenney to stop marriage fraud," said Sam S. Benet, President of Canadians Against Immigration Fraud. "These measures will definitely protect the integrity of our immigration system."
However not all critics agree with the new changes. New Democratic Party immigration critic Don Davies, said the new rule falls short of addressing the real problem. He claims Canada should be investing more resources into overseas immigration bureaus that vet applicants before they come to Canada to stop marriage fraud before it occurs.
"Of all the problems in the immigration system -we have a backlog of a million, wait times are appalling, we have hundreds of thousands of families in this country who are unable to sponsor their parents because there's a freeze ... and Minister Kenney thinks the most important thing to legislate on is the relatively small number of people who are engaged in marriages of convenience. I don't think that that's where the focus of immigration reform should be," said Davies.
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