‘Tough on crime’ agenda provides new hurdle for spousal sponsorship

Whenever governments want to be seen as “tough on crime,” they pass legislation that offers a simple solution to a complex problem.

The Tories are no exception.

The problem? Bogus spousal sponsorships by some.

The solution? A five-year sponsorship ban for all.

Each year, about 40,000 to 45,000 Canadians successfully sponsor their foreign spouses, common law partners and conjugal partners to Canada. Each case is examined carefully by Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) to ensure that the relationship is genuine and and not fabricated for immigration purposes.

No doubt, in spite of all the interviews, field investigations, and background checks that are conducted, a small percentage (no one knows exactly what it is) gets through fraudulently. Virtually every country faces these challenges.

The current law is very clear — if an applicant is discovered to be misrepresenting his/her relationship, their application will be refused and they can face a two-year bar to any entry to Canada. Furthermore, both the sponsor and the applicant can be charged with misrepresentation and fined up to $100,000 and imprisoned for as many as five years.

You would think that this arms our immigration officials with sufficient power to deter and punish marriage fraudsters. But, apparently, this is not “tough” enough. The Tories would like to be seen doing even more.

The solution that was dropped into place by Immigration Minister Jason Kenney last week will prevent all Canadian citizens and permanent residents who were sponsored here by a spouse, common law partner or conjugal partner from, in turn, sponsoring another spouse for five years.

The Tories are labelling these legislative changes as a ban on marriage fraud. However, the problem with this ban is that it will apply to even those who did not commit marriage fraud.

For example, if a Canadian sponsor dies shortly after his sponsored wife is granted permanent residence, his widow cannot sponsor a new spouse for five years because of this new ban.

As another example, if the Canadian spouse is abusive of his wife after she arrives in Canada as a permanent resident, the abused woman cannot divorce and sponsor a new partner for five years after her arrival.

Finally, if the wife arrives in Canada and later discovers that her Canadian husband was unfaithful to her while she was being sponsored or after she arrived, she can leave him but won’t be able to sponsor a new partner for five years after being granted permanent residence here.

What these three simple, and not uncommon, examples show is that the innocent will undoubtedly be made to suffer under this new regime.

Our current legislation exposes both the sponsor and the applicant to heavy fines and lengthy jail terms if they are involved in a misrepresentation connected to marriage fraud. At present, innocent parties need not worry.

These new measures will surely cause a lot of collateral damage to those who are not involved in marriage fraud in any way.

Kenney has not explained why his new ban is better than the measures we already have in place, which allow for the prosecution of those who would take advantage of our spousal sponsorship rules while leaving the innocent unscathed.

Either a re-think or an explanation is in order.

Guidy Mamann, J.D. practises law in Toronto at Mamann, Sandaluk & Kingwell and is certified by the Law Society of Upper Canada as an immigration specialist. For more information, visit www.migrationlaw.com or email metro@migrationlaw.com.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
International

Nearly 300 missing after South Korean ferry capsizes

Almost 300 people were missing after a ferry capsized off South Korea Wednesday, in what could be the country's biggest maritime disaster in over 20 years.

National

Miley Cyrus hospitalized, cancels Kansas concert, condition unknown,…

Singer Miley Cyrus was hospitalized on Tuesday night after suffering what is believed to be 'a severe allergic reaction' to antibiotics medication. The 21-year-old Bangerz…

News

Explosions in new Boston Marathon bomb panic, 'twisted'…

A fresh Boston Marathon terror alert, which caused Bomb Squad officers to order an evacuation while two controlled explosions were carried out, was today being…

Local

D.A. Williams opens new unit to focus exclusively…

D.A. Seth Williams announced Tuesday that he has opened a new unit focused entirely on investigating wrongful conviction claims.

Entertainment

Miley Cyrus hospitalized, cancels Kansas concert, condition unknown,…

Singer Miley Cyrus was hospitalized on Tuesday night after suffering what is believed to be 'a severe allergic reaction' to antibiotics medication. The 21-year-old Bangerz…

Television

'Orphan Black's' Jordan Gavaris talks Felix's Season 2…

Jordan Gavaris plays heroically helpful foster sibling Felix to main clone Sarah on "Orphan Black." We talked to him about what’s ahead for him in…

Going Out

Here's what to do in Philly this weekend

FILM 'Through a Lens Darkly'  Thursday, April 17, 6 p.m. Philadelphia Photo Arts Center 1400 N. American St. Free, RSVP required, 215-232-5678 www.philaphotoarts.org Join Philadelphia…

Arts

Peek behind the scenes at the Academy of…

Generations of visitors have marveled at the dioramas in the Academy of Natural Sciences, watching apprehensively at the puma perpetually poised to attack the unsuspecting…

U.S. Soccer

Andrew Wenger has big shoes to fill on…

Lancaster County native Andrew Wenger will feel pressure to fill the shoes of departer forward Jack McInerney.

NBA

NBA Power Rankings: Are the Spurs frauds? Could…

NBA Power Rankings: Are the Spurs frauds? Could the Mavericks surprise?

NBA

Sixers, Michael Carter-Williams give fans a happy ending…

The 2013-14 season for the 76ers has nearly come to a close.

NHL

Flyers must make Rangers feel their presence

Perhaps it’s the proximity of the two biggest cities in the East, because whenever these two square off the intensity seems to rise.

Home

Steal home decorating tips from Nattystyle blogger Natalie…

Despite the towering ceilings and enviable exposed brick, it’s easy to see how Natalie Decleve’s apartment could be considered a challenge. Perched above the streets…

Home

How to plant a garden in the city

Small on space but big on gardening? You can still have that welcoming oasis of fresh air with an urban garden. Peter Smith, owner of…

Style

Victoria's Secret Fashion Show moving to England

It will still broadcast on CBS this fall.

Tech

Google Glass finally goes on sale for regular…

The Google Glass finally went on sale for regular people. It only costs $1,500.