There are some people who think marriage to a Canadian citizen will be their ticket to Canada.
It is a crime for foreign nationals to marry Canadian citizens or permanent residents only to gain entry into Canada. Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) is working to prevent these fraudulent marriages.
In many cases, sponsors and foreign applicants arrange a “marriage of convenience”: a marriage or common-law relationship where the sole purpose is for the sponsored spouse to immigrate to Canada.
CIC officers are specially trained to recognize genuine immigration applications, and they know how to detect marriages of convenience. They use several methods to uncover marriage fraud, including document checks, site visits and interviews with sponsors and applicants. Canadian citizens or permanent residents found to be part of a marriage of convenience for immigration purposes may be charged with a crime.
Effective October 25, 2012, sponsored spouses or partners must now live together in a legitimate relationship with their sponsor for two years from the day they receive permanent residence status in Canada.
If you are a spouse or partner being sponsored to come to Canada, this applies to you if:
- You are being sponsored by a permanent resident or Canadian citizen
- You have been in a relationship for two years or less with your sponsor
- You have no children in common
- Your application was received on or after October 25, 2012
Learn more about the new conditional permanent residence measure for spouses and partners.
Don’t become a victim of marriage fraud
If you are a Canadian citizen or permanent resident and you meet someone from another country on the Internet or while travelling, you should take care if you are considering marrying them and sponsoring them to Canada.
Sponsors must financially support their spouse for three years, even if the marriage or relationship fails. If your spouse uses social assistance, you will have to repay the money, and you won’t be able to sponsor anyone else until the debt is repaid. Sponsorship is a legally binding financial commitment with the Government of Canada.
Sponsors: Do not be tempted by offers of money or other rewards to enter into a marriage of convenience just so the person can immigrate to Canada. If you do this, you can face serious criminal charges, and you will still have to meet the terms of the sponsorship.
Do not feel you are obligated to help somebody by being part of a marriage of convenience, no matter what the reason. It is not worth the risks.
Visa applicants: Don’t get involved in a marriage of convenience. You will be refused a visa and may be banned from travel to Canada for two years. This will remain permanently on your CIC record.
CIC recognizes that even genuine marriages can fail. However, if you enter into a marriage of convenience and come to Canada as an immigrant, enforcement action can be taken against you. This enforcement action could end with your being deported by the Canada Border Services Agency.
- News Release – “The Jig is Up on Marriage Fraud,” says Minister Kenney [October 2012]
- News release – Minister Kenney introduces sponsorship restriction to address marriage fraud [March 2012]
- News Release – Conditional permanent residence proposed to deter marriages of convenience [March 2012]
Protect yourself from fraud
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