Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) began airing a television ad today warning Canadians of the dangers of marriage sponsorship fraud.
The ad tells Canadians that some foreign individuals seek out Canadians and feign genuine affection for them, in order to convince the Canadian to marry them and sponsor them for permanent residence.
The ruse is part of a ploy to get into Canada, something that would otherwise require meeting the federal government’s stringent and often unattainable requirements.
Victims of marriage fraud are legally responsible to pay for any social assistance that their foreign spouse uses while in Canada for a period of three years, which can cost them tens of thousands of dollars per year.
CIC also posted a seven minute video on its website today recounting the story of three Canadians who were victims of marriage fraud: an Anglophone woman, a Francophone man, and an Indo-Canadian Anglophone man, showing that this crime can affect any one.
The video (below) and the 30 second television ad (bottom) can be seen here:
CIC instituted a new rule last October requiring that a foreign spouse who has not had a child with their Canadian spouse be required to be in a relationship with their spouse in Canada for two years before they are granted full permanent residency status.
For the two year period, the foreign spouse can live in Canada under a provisional permanent resident status, that can be revoked if the relationship does not last the whole period, unless there is evidence of abandonment or abuse by the Canadian spouse.
In March 2012, CIC also began barring individuals who had been sponsored as a spouse or common-law partner, from sponsoring a new spouse or common-law partner for five years.
The new rules were motivated by the fallout from stories from Canadians like Lainie Towell, who brought national attention to the issue of marriage fraud in 2009, when she went public with allegations that her Guinean husband left her 29 days after arriving in Canada, in 2007.