Paramjit Basanti immigrated from India in 1994 and currently resides in Surrey BC with his family. Paramjit, a Canadian citizen wed Charanjit Kular — an Indian citizen in an arranged marriage in 1999.
He then tried to unsuccessfully sponsor his wife for permanent residency in Canada in 2000.
Paramjit’s then-counsel conceded immigration was the primary purpose for the marriage.
The Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration’s Immigration Appeals Division (IAD) found that Paramjit and Charanjit knew very little about each other and on a balance of probabilities, Charanjit did not intend to live with her husband once coming to Canada.
His 2002 application was rejected mostly for the same reasons.
Paramjit appealed in 2007 arguing that the length of their marriage, consistent travel, conversations together, his financial support and attempts to conceive a child should be enough evidence to show this was a genuine marriage.
The Immigration Appeal Division (IAD) did not agree with Mr. Basanti.
Paramjit followed up with filing a fourth sponsorship application in 2008 and was rejected again as non-genuine.
In 2010, changes to immigration regulations made any spouse ineligible to be sponsored if that marriage’s “primary purpose” at the time of the wedding was gaining immigration status.
In 2013 his fifth application was filed and again was rejected.
The Immigration Appeal Division (IAD) noted their ongoing relationship but found it less relevant because of the primary purpose issue when appeals were filed on the fifth application.
Paramjit’s lawyer, Narindar Kang, recounted it was common practice before 2010 to concede that immigration was the primary purpose of a marriage because it led to shorter, faster immigration hearings.
Kang, said it’s a symptom of the Canadian immigration system’s misplaced focus on preventing marriages where a couple marries solely to get one partner Canadian citizenship, with no intention of staying together.
What might be needed to overcome it now is a new application heard by visa officials who put less weight on the 2001 concession.
Kang added, the federal government could simply change the rules back to the old way.
He noted that the Canadian Bar Association’s position paper on the subject in December of 2016 recommend that the government change the law back to what it was.
Aleksandar (Alex) Stojicevic is one of the most respected immigration lawyers in Western Canada with more 24 years of experience in the field. He is the founding and managing partner of MKS Lawyers.