Spousal Sponsorship “Marriage of Convenience” issues continued…

Spousal Sponsorship in Canada

As part of our ongoing reporting on the Canadian government’s crackdown on “Marriage of Convenience” cases for Spousal Sponsorship in Canada, here are the latest developments.

In early November a woman in British Columbia was arrested on bigamy charges for being legally married to two people at once in different cities in order to sponsor two different people for immigration reasons.

Canadian citizens can sponsor their legal spouses and both men in this case had applied for permanent residence status based on being legally married to a Canadian citizen, according to federal Crown prosecutors.

Charges: Spousal Sponsorship in Canada

This is the first time that charges of bigamy have been laid by the Canada Border Services Agency in Canada and the woman has also been charged with knowingly misrepresenting or withholding material facts under immigration legislation.

Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney has spent the better part of the last month touring Canada and engaging the community in “town hall” meetings to discuss spousal sponsorship issues and hear personal stories about marriages of convenience and their impact on those who participated in them unknowingly.

In one Montreal meeting, Kenney said,

“While we want to keep the doors open for legitimate spouses or partners, we also want to make sure the doors are not open to those who would break our laws and exploit Canadians.”

Throughout October he heard stories like that of one woman whose husband left her as soon as he landed in Canada at the Vancouver International Airport, saying that he didn’t want to be married to her, he just wanted to come to Canada. That woman said she complained to the Canada Border Services Agency as well as the police but so far no charges have been laid.

The moral of the story, is if you are considering “spousal sponsorship” in Canada as a immigration solution to your relationship you will want to double make sure the person you are uniting with is marrying your for the ‘right’ reasons otherwise both parties could risk being charged.

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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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