Recent Restrictions on Spousal Sponsorship
If you wish to apply for Canadian immigration through the Family Class Sponsorship program, you should be informed about recent changes introduced within the past two years that may affect your plans.
In 2012, Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) began enforcing stricter application policies for the Spousal Sponsorship immigration stream of Canada’s Family Class program. These reforms affect prospective immigrants seeking to be sponsored by a spouse or other common-law partner who is already a citizen or permanent resident of Canada.
Countless immigrants have applied for Spousal Sponsorship and subsequently acquired Canadian permanent resident status, and it will remain a viable mechanism for family reunification. However, the government has legislated new measures to safeguard this application process against what it considers to be fraudulent marriage claims. Canadian immigration authorities identify marriage fraud in multiple forms, including marriages of convenience as well as feigned romantic interest to obtain sponsorship. Processing such false applications is costly and time-consuming, and unfairly slows down the procedure for legitimate applicants.
The new restrictions make it more difficult to defraud the Spousal Sponsorship program so that genuine applicants are the main beneficiaries of government resources. Consequently, the Family Class program will better be able to maintain its integrity in helping Canadian families stay unified.
What are the new conditions, and how do they affect you?
Whether you are a prospective sponsor or immigrant, you should be aware of these two new rules for spousal/common law partners that took effect in October 2012:
- Five-year ban
If you entered Canada through the Spousal Sponsorship program, you will not be permitted to sponsor another spouse for at least five years from when you received permanent resident status.
- Two-year restriction on legitimate relationships
Those married or in a common-law relationship for two years or less with no children together, will receive conditional permanent residency. In order to maintain, evidence of continuous cohabitation for two years in Canada with your legitimate spouse or partner must be proven. The government grants exemptions to this rule for victims of spousal abuse or neglect, or in cases where the Canadian sponsor dies.
The above conditions are intended to discourage prospective applicants from entering into marriages of convenience, and foreign nationals from pretending to be romantically interested in their Canadian sponsor for the purposes of Canadian immigration.
In the case of the Two-year restriction on legitimate relationships, conditions will be lifted automatically after the two-year limit has passed, unless the couple is being investigated for fraud. Investigations may occur as a result of suspicions, or through a random audit of an applicant’s situation.
Canadian immigration authorities are working harder than ever to target cases of Spousal Sponsorship fraud. The measures adopted over the last to years are designed to help maintain the integrity of Canada’s spousal sponsorship program.
As with any Canadian immigration program, applicants should inform themselves about the pertaining regulation and procedure before applying. To speak with an experienced Canadian immigration lawyer contact First Immigration Law Firm Toll-free @ 1-855-360-4333