New Sponsorship Rules for Spouses

The Canadian government is imposing a five year sponsorship bar on those who migrate to the country under the Spousal Sponsorship stream, after being sponsored by their spouse or partner.

The new regulation, which came into force Mar. 02, was announced by Citizenship and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney. Until now, a person immigrating to Canada after being sponsored by a spouse or partner living in Canada could leave the original sponsor, and sponsor a new spouse.

The spouse in Canada who sponsored initially, meanwhile, can be liable for any financial upkeep of the migrated sponsor of up to three years.

The government says this is one of the many steps it is taking to end so-called fraudulent marriages. Over the past few years, there had been a number of high profile cases where sponsors in Canada claimed they were duped by partners who entered into marriage for the sole purpose of migrating to Canada. And once in Canada, they proceeded to ditch their sponsorers.

The Canadian government had a number of town hall meetings in major cities, and ran an online public consultation process to ascertain public’s views on the subject.

Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) – the federal department in charge of immigration matters – is also planning another major step in its battle against fraudulent marriages.

This comes in the form of instituting a new type of permanent residence permit (PR) for those migrating as spouses.

Under a proposal published in the Canada Gazette a year ago, the CIC had proposed a two-year Conditional PR for those partners of Canadian citizens or permanent residents who have been in a relationship for less than two years.

The CIC is planning to start another round of public consultations on its proposal.

The government says besides cracking down on fraudulent marriages, it also wants to bring the country’s spousal PR in line with the principles of other major immigration countries such as Australia and Britain.


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