Spousal Sponsorship gone Bad: Family and Immigration law don’t always see “eye to eye”

Spousal Sponsorship repercussions

CBC reported last week that a Canadian man who was married to a Ukrainian woman for a short time now wants her deported.

He still pays spousal support for the woman, who he met through a dating website. He applied for a visitor’s visa (temporary resident visa) on her behalf, and married her shortly after she arrived. However, the man suspected later that he was used by his wife in order for her to live in Canada. We call this a Marriage of Convenience (MOC).

The man, who lives in British Columbia, divorced his wife more than two years ago. According to Citizenship and Immigration Canada, his wife is now no longer eligible for status in Canada and is required to leave. He applied for her for Permanent Residence as a Sponsor but later withdrew the application. The woman is still in Canada and is fighting her ex-husband for half of his assets.

In this case, it seems that the court is also at odds with Citizenship and Immigration Canada, because they have ordered the man pay the woman $1,200 in support every month, which is half of his pay. His failure to provide some support payments has also caused a lien to be put on his home.

According to Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney, the problem in this case lies with the court system and not the government. The courts say the man must pay support for his ex-wife, while Canada’s immigration policies say that he is no longer responsible for her at all.

In the eyes of the government, a marriage such as this may be regarded as a marriage of convenience i.e., a marriage solely for the reasons of one party attaining status in Canada. The government is currently working on a plan to reduce the number of marriages of convenience in Canada.

So the lesson here is this: When sponsoring a spouse be prepared to deal with BOTH Canadian immigration laws and Family Law.  These legal areas do not necessarily conflict but often they do. So think twice before signing your Sponsorship Agreement. You may be getting more than you bargained for.

Have a question about Spousal Sponsorship? Contact Niren and Associates immigration law firm.

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Michael Niren

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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