Overseas spouses sponsored by their Canadian partners for permanent residency will soon see the two-year probation period eliminated, according to federal Immigration Minister John McCallum. McCallum has announced he will fulfill an election promise to do away with the two-year wait in the coming months, the Vancouver Sun reports.
The two-year probation period was brought in by the former government in 2012 to curb what was seen as a growing problem of marriage fraud. The campaign against fraud also included a policy which required sponsors or those who have been sponsored to wait five years before using the spousal program again — and the current government has said they will maintain this policy.
Though some anecdotal evidence points to the success of the 2012 change in curbing marriage fraud, the Sun reports, Maynard Kischer Stojicevic partner Alex Stojicevic says there are other factors to consider when looking at this type of policy.
Alex told the Sun that, though marriage fraud was definitely a problem, the policy “caused more problems than it solved (by creating) incentives (for sponsored spouses) to stay in abusive and bad relationships simply to keep their status.”
Andrew Wlodyka, a former assistant deputy chair with the appeal division of the Immigration and Refugee Board, told the Sun he “wouldn’t be surprised” if doing away with the two-year probation policy caused marriage fraud rates to rise again. However, Alex says rules around having to wait five years before using the sponsorship program again should effectively deter people from defrauding the system. As well, Alex noted the federal government has developed tools to detect marriage fraud that make the “Draconian” two-year delay unnecessary.
One such tool, Vancouver immigration lawyer Richard Kurland told the Sun, is the rule that excludes marriages executed via telephone, fax or the Internet.
While marriage fraud may be attempted by someone from any country, Canadian Border Services Agency documents obtained by Kurland in 2013 showed immigrants from China and India were frequent offenders — with roughly a third of applications from these countries being fraudulent.
The lawyers at MKS Immigration and Citizenship Law have the latest information on Canadian immigration law. MKS are experts at helping clients, from individuals looking to sponsor a spouse for permanent residency, to businesses wanting to hire foreign workers, navigate the ever-changing immigration and citizenship system to achieve the best outcome.
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