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It’s something that many Canadian citizens have to be aware of – people from abroad who act like they want to marry them in order to be sponsored by their new spouses to come to Canada, only to abandon them once they get into Canada.
This is immigration marriage fraud, and it’s illegal. One of the worst side-effects of immigration marriage fraud is that it makes it much more difficult for legitimate spousal sponsorship situations – couples often have to prove their relationship is legitimate while facing the stigma this marriage fraud creates.
Another issue is that the marriage scammer can hold all of the cards. Because they are the responsibility of the spousal sponsor, they can threaten to collect social assistance and the sponsor will be forced to pay it all back. That is exactly what happened to an Ottawa woman, whose newly sponsored spouse left her and asked for a divorce three weeks after coming to Canada. The woman complained but felt ignored, so she staged a very public protest on the steps of Parliament – wearing a wedding dress with a door on the back, according to this Yahoo News Canada article.
New laws have been proposed by Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney, including making sponsors wait five years before sponsoring someone else (because sometimes, the sponsors are in on the schemes) as well as having the sponsored spouse live in Canada for two years before obtaining permanent residency.
Unfortunately some of these changes will make it more difficult for legitimate spousal sponsorships, but it will send a strong message that immigration marriage fraud will get you deported from Canada.