On March 2nd, 2012 the Government of Canada approved a new measure in order to avoid marriage fraud. According to the statistics, a lot of people use this category to gain an easy entrance into Canada.
This change is a restriction for the spouses and partners who are sponsored by a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident. From now on they will not be able to sponsor a new person into the country unless five years have passed since they were granted permanent residence. Before this change happened, sponsored people were able to abandon their partners right after their permanent residence process was finished and then able to sponsor a new person. In some cases, this new person happened to be the legitimate partner who was waiting for their own process to get started. Until now, most of the obligations and responsibilities were for the sponsor who kept being in charge of the new permanent resident for up to three years even if their partner had left them and started a new sponsorship procedure for someone else.
Jason Kenney, the Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism was involved in several surveys and he interviewed several victims of marriage fraud, due to the results of these events, the new restriction was imposed.
Another restriction is currently being analyzed and may take place any time soon. On March 9th, 2012 the new proposal has been opened for public input. The idea is that instead of granting permanent residence right away to spouses or partners of Canadian citizens and permanent residents, they will obtain a conditional residence for two years before they have the right to become permanent residents. Other countries like the United States, Australia, New Zealand and England have similar measures that work as a deterrent for marriage fraud. Some people think that this change will only increase abusive or violent relationships, but my point of view differs from this. I think these changes will make the immigration system more fair and transparent and if a relationship is abusive or violent applicants should walk away even if that means they are not getting permanent residence status. The family class has the objective of reuniting families or keeping genuine relationships together, the objective is not to allow foreigners into Canada who will gain status and then abandon their partners, if this is some people’s plan then they must consider applying under a different category on their own.
Now I have another question: what is going to happen next to avoid marriage fraud when Canadian citizens or permanent residents are not victims and are conscious of the fraud and sometimes even charge money to foreigners to facilitate their entry?
By: Maria Campos
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