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Failure to repay welfare by ex prevents spousal sponsorship for new wife

Spousal sponsorship delayed by ex-wife’s activites

A man who divorced his first wife years ago and re-married in 2006 cannot sponsor his new wife because he’s on the hook for his ex-wife’s welfare bill, totaling almost $30,000.

Ignatius Seffalaar is a baker in Saskatchewan and a Canadian citizen originally from the Netherlands. A frequent traveler for occupational reasons, he met and married a Russian woman and brought her to Canada in the 1990s, divorcing shortly after. Eventually, traveling to Mexico garnered the man a second wife in 2006. His new wife was on a visitor’s visa while Seffalaar applied to sponsor her.

However, his application to sponsor her was denied and he was told that his ex-wife had gone on welfare after they divorced. As her sponsor, he was on the hook for the amount she had collected in the years since: $27,000.

As a result of the sponsorship rejection his wife, who has lived in Canada for three years, has had to go back to violence-plague Mexico where according to an interview in the National Post she says, “there are killings every day” near where she lives. She has applied for a temporary work permit, but immigration officials are likely to reject it because she is married to a Canadian and owns property here – making it seem unlikely that she’d leave once it expires.

$27,000 is more money than some people see in an entire year, let alone an amount that anyone has to spare. When people apply to sponsor someone, they are responsible for them. Unfortunately for Seffalaar, no one told him about this restriction before  until he tried to sponsor someone else.

The lesson here is that your spousal sponsorship agreements need to be taken seriously.

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About Michael Niren

Michael is a graduate of Osgoode Hall Law School in Toronto. He is a member of the Law Society of Upper Canada, the Canadian Bar Association’s Citizenship and Immigration Section and the Associate Member of the American Bar Association. Read more

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