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Marriage on Your Mind for Immigration? Think Again

Source: Vancouver Sun

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.

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Marriage on your mind for immigration? Think again.

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