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Joined: Oct/20/2008
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Direct Link To This Post Topic: Immigration Fraud - Marriage
    Posted: Oct/31/2011 at 10:44am

Marriage fraud: New “conditional” immigration status to be announced

The Canadian government is preparing to unveil a new “conditional” immigration status to curb marriage fraud.

The new category will make it easier for Ottawa to deport a sponsored spouse who is later found to have lied in a bid to come to Canada.

The new regulations are expected to be introduced later this year and will be based on practices already in place in the United States and Australia. In those countries, couples must prove they have lived together for a defined period before the applicant becomes a permanent resident.

And to prevent a “revolving door” of fraud marriages for cash, the government will also bring in a five-year ban on sponsoring spouses being allowed to turn around and sponsor a new spouse into Canada.

Immigration Minister Jason Kenney confirmed the plan Wednesday, singling out China and India as countries where elaborate schemes have been uncovered.

Mr. Kenney said Canadian officials in India noticed that the faces of husbands and wives were being Photoshopped onto the same wedding photo, time and again.

“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.

The Canada Border Services Agency has a team of 62 “liaison officers” in 48 missions who gather intelligence on potential fraud schemes.

The new regulations are based on countrywide consultations by the Department of Citizenship and Immigration, which found broad support among more than 2,300 respondents for the changes, under certain conditions. For instance, close to half supported a conditional status of two years or less, while only 23 per cent supported a period of between five and 10 years. Ottawa has said only that its conditional status will be “two years, or longer.”

But the notion of making permanent residency conditional on living with a new spouse for a yet-to-be-defined period of time raises concerns that new immigrants could be vulnerable to domestic abuse in Canada. The rules are expected to include an exemption in cases where abuse has occurred.

Read the complete story here

Edited by EMaggio1 - Oct/31/2011 at 10:44am
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