Thsi is the offical notie.
DEPARTMENT OF CITIZENSHIP AND IMMIGRATION
IMMIGRATION AND REFUGEE PROTECTION ACT
Notice requesting comments on a proposal to introduce a conditional permanent residence period of two years or more for sponsored spouses and partners in a relationship of two years or less with their sponsors
Following public town hall meetings and online consultations on marriages of convenience held in fall 2010, notice is hereby given that Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) is soliciting written comments from all interested parties on a proposal to amend the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations to introduce a specified period of conditional permanent residence for spouses and partners sponsored as members of the family class or spouse or common-law partner in Canada class under subsection 13(1) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA). This proposed measure would apply to spouses and partners who have been in a relationship with their sponsor for two years or less at the time of the sponsorship application. The period of conditional status under consideration could be two years, or longer, from the time that the sponsored spouse or partner becomes a permanent resident in Canada.
The objective of the proposed conditional permanent residence period would be to deter marriages of convenience while maintaining the spirit of the family reunification program by continuing to facilitate the reunification of genuine spouses and partners and their dependents. Introduction of the proposed measure by way of regulation would serve to further strengthen the integrity of Canada’s immigration system and send a message that Canada is taking a strong stance against marriage fraud, and immigration fraud in general. A conditional period of two years or more would also help to bring Canada’s policies to deter marriage fraud into line with those of other countries, such as the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia, all of which already employ a form of two-year conditional status for those in new relationships.
One of the objectives of IRPA is to facilitate family reunification. IRPA allows Canadian citizens or permanent residents to sponsor close family members for immigration to Canada, including spouses, partners and dependent children.
While the majority of spouses and partners are believed to be in legitimate relationships, the spousal sponsorship process is open to abuse when individuals enter into non bona fide relationships in order to facilitate entry into Canada. In some cases, both parties may be aware that the relationship is for immigration purposes, while in others, the sponsor believes the relationship to be genuine, while the sponsored spouse or partner intends on leaving their sponsor shortly after gaining permanent residence status in Canada, thus victimizing the sponsor.
While firm figures on the extent of marriage fraud are not available, we know that about 46 300 immigration applications for spouses and partners were processed in 2010 (39 800 from abroad and 6 500 from Canada). Of these, about 16% were refused for various reasons — many on the basis of evidence that the relationship was not bona fide, while others were refused for reasons including criminality, security and medical issues.
While entering into a marriage primarily for immigration purposes is prohibited under the Regulations, it is often a challenge to identify and substantiate these kinds of relationships. In fall 2010, amendments to strengthen the Regulations barring marriages of convenience were brought into force. Additional measures are still needed, however, to effectively deter individuals who might otherwise use a marriage of convenience to circumvent our immigration laws, and to protect the integrity of our immigration system.
There is increased public concern about abuse of Canada’s family immigration program through marriages of convenience, and the issue has received considerable media attention. In order to gauge the seriousness of the marriage fraud challenge, in the fall of 2010, the Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism held town hall meetings focused on the issue. Citizenship and Immigration Canada also held online consultations on marriages of convenience in the fall of 2010 in order to gather public and stakeholder views.
Respondents to the online consultation expressed considerable concern about marriages of convenience. Most considered the issue to be a threat to the integrity of Canada’s immigration system. There was strong support for measures and actions by the Government of Canada to address marriage fraud, including broad support for a sponsorship bar to prevent recently sponsored spouses and partners from sponsoring a new spouse or partner within a specified timeframe, and the introduction of a conditional measure.
Along with this Notice of Intent seeking input on a proposal for the introduction of a conditional permanent residence measure, a specific amendment to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations to introduce a sponsorship bar to prevent sponsored partners and spouses from sponsoring a new spouse or partner for five years is also being proposed.
Citizenship and Immigration Canada proposes to introduce amendments to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations specifying that, under the family class or the spouse and common-law in Canada class, a spouse or a common-law or conjugal partner who is in a relationship of two years or less with their sponsor at the time of sponsorship application would be subject to a period of conditional permanent residence. The condition would require that the sponsored spouse or partner remain in a bona fide relationship with their sponsor for a period of two years or more following receipt of their permanent residence status in Canada. Only cases targeted for fraud would be reviewed during the conditional period. Permanent residence could be revoked (leading to initiation of removal) if the condition of remaining in a bona fide relationship was not met. For all other cases, the condition would be automatically lifted after the specified conditional period had elapsed. Beyond the requirement to satisfy the condition, the conditional permanent residence would not differ from permanent residence.
Given concerns about the vulnerability of spouses and partners in abusive relationships, a process for allowing bona fide spouses and partners in such situations to come forward without facing enforcement action would be developed if a conditional permanent residence period were introduced.
Any person (including immigration lawyers, stakeholders, provincial/territorial/municipal governments, interested groups, general public) may, within 30 days of this notice, provide their comments on this Notice of Intent, in writing, to the person named below at the address provided.
Comments would be appreciated on the proposed introduction of a conditional permanent residence period of two years or more for spouses and partners sponsored as part of the family class or spouse or common-law partner in Canada class category who are in a relationship of two years or less with their sponsor at the time of sponsorship application.
Questions and requests for additional information, as well as comments regarding this Notice of Intent, may be directed to Justine Akman, Director, Social Policy and Programs, Citizenship and Immigration Canada, 365 Laurier Avenue W, 8th Floor, Ottawa, Ontario K1A 1L1, 613-941-9022 (telephone), 613-941-9014 (fax), firstname.lastname@example.org (email).
Acting Director General