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Ottawa to tighten spousal immigration sponsorship rules

Date: Friday Mar. 2, 2012 3:23 PM ET
In a move intended to crack down on bogus marriages, Ottawa has increased the length of time that a sponsored immigrant can turn around and sponsor a new partner.
The new rules take effect immediately and are meant to prevent people from fraudulently marrying Canadians to get into the country, only to turn around and leave that sponsor to bring in another spouse.
Canadians who sponsor immigrants are financially responsible for them for three years. Under the new rules, a spouse must wait five years from the day they are granted permanent residence status in Canada before they can sponsor a new spouse.
"I held town hall meetings across the country to hear from victims of marriage fraud," said Citizen and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney in a statement. The minister made the announcement Friday in Brampton, Ont.
"In addition to the heartbreak and pain that came from being lied to and deceived, these people were angry. They felt they had been used as a way to get to Canada. We're taking action because immigration to Canada should not be built upon deceit."
The minister was not immediately available for a comment.
The rule changes are in line with United States, Australia and the United Kingdom which have waiting periods of two to three years before a sponsored spouse could be come a permanent resident of Canada.
Kenney has long promised to tackle marriage fraud. Two years ago, Ottawa held online consultations to solicit public opinion on the issue.
The new measures come just weeks after Ottawa resident Lainie Towell's ex-husband was deported to his native Guinea. Towell's husband left her nearly one year after they exchanged vows in Guinea and four weeks after he arrived in Canada as Towell's sponsored spouse.

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