Thursday, October 27, 2011

Conditional spousal sponsorship visas to be introduced

The Government of Canada will soon be announcing conditional visas for those sponsored under Canada’s Family Class Spousal Sponsorship Program in attempt to curb marriage fraud. There was speculation that this change would be considered, but Canadian officials are now confirming that the conditional visa will be introduced later this year.
Jason Kenney, Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism, has noted that immigration officials are seeing an increased number of cases of marriage fraud from certain countries, China and India in particular. Marriage photos from those countries are often Photoshopped to show the faces of husband and wives on the same wedding photo.
“Then we required that people have bigger pictures of their wedding reception so we could see if it was authentic. Then we saw that in the Punjab, some of these wedding palaces were offering fake wedding receptions for people. So then we go out and visit some of these wedding palaces. It’s a cat and mouse game,” he said.
Under the new changes, a sponsored spouse will have to remain in the relationship for a certain period of time before becoming a permanent resident. At this time, Ottawa has only said that the time period would be for two years or more. Furthermore, the government will introduce a five-year ban on sponsored spouses being allowed to sponsor a new spouse to come to Canada. Ottawa hopes these changes will make it easier to deport those who have lied in order to come to Canada.
There are those however who are not supporting the new changes. Don Davies, NDP MPm has said that the focus should be on improving the screening process overseas, not imposing a conditional visa. His concerns are that these changes could result in domestic abuse in failed marriages.
“What if the marriage fails? You’re going to force two people to live together for two years when that didn’t work?” he asked. “I just think that’s unsound policy.”
Although an official date for the new change has not yet been announced, Canadavisa.com will report on any information as soon as it is revealed.