Persons who obtained landed status through a ‘marriage of convenience’
can be removed from Canada
Regular readers of this column would be familiar with the term “marriage of convenience.” Or “business marriage,” as it is sometimes called. Simply put, a ” marriage of convenience” is one in which one of the two persons in the marriage agreed to the arrangement solely for the other person to obtain permanent residence in Canada.
This kind of marriage is not uncommon in the Caribbean community in Canada but remains a matter of growing concern. Persons who engage in this kind of fraud can find themselves facing serious problems.
They are often written up under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act for misrepresentation and are issued a removal order. Of course, since such persons have already gained permanent resident status in Canada, they are entitled to appeal the removal order to the Immigration Appeal Division (IAD). However, make no mistake: This tribunal takes a very serious view of this type of misrepresentation.
Under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, a permanent resident or a foreign national is inadmissible for misrepresentation (a) for directly or indirectly misrepresenting or withholding material facts relating to a relevant matter that induces or could induce an error in the administration of this Act;
And under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations, a foreign national shall not be considered a spouse, a common-law partner or a conjugal partner of a person if the marriage, common-law partnership or conjugal partnership (a) was entered into primarily for the purpose of acquiring any status or privilege under the Act; or (b) is not genuine.
Let’s look at a recent case in which a landed immigrant entered into a “marriage of convenience” and was issued an Exclusion Order by the Immigration Division.
In this case I will refer to the applicant as Ray and his first wife as Jane (not their real names) who were married on March 3, 2009. Ray accompanied Jane to Canada as her dependent spouse, and he became a permanent resident upon his arrival in Canada on July 28, 2010. Their marriage was dissolved effective October 1, 2012.
Ray then married Margaret ( not her real name) on August 17, 2013 Their were engaged in July 2012. He then attempted to sponsor Margaret for permanent residence, but the sponsorship was stalled as he was written up for misrepresentation in June 2016. It was found by the Immigration Division that Ray misrepresented himself and an Exclusion order was issued against him. Ray then exercised his right of an appeal which is yet to be heard.
At Ray’s admissibility hearing, the Minister (of Immigration) was of the opinion that Ray must be declared inadmissible for misrepresentation, as the evidence showed, on a balance of probabilities, that Ray entered into” a marriage of convenience” with his first wife in order to obtain permanent residence in Canada. The Minister was also of the opinion that Ray used his first wife as a vehicle to enter and remain in Canada, by which he could obtain permanent residence.
The Minister also pointed out to the Immigration Division that Ray was very eager to come to Canada. His sister was in Canada and urged him to come and live in Canada. His sister assisted him in three separate applications for study permits, all of which were refused. Once Ray became a permanent resident upon his arrival in Canada, he no longer needed his first wife and was already in an intimate relationship with Margaret who would later become his second wife. Ray and Jane separated in August 2010, a few days after they settled in Canada.
There was already an intimate relationship between Ray and Margaret before he became a permanent resident in Canada. He had no intention of continuing his relationship with Jane who had given him an opportunity to come to Canada because she had the skills necessary to qualify as a skilled worker. He did not have the minimum skills required.
The Immigration Division member concluded that on a balance of probabilities, there was misrepresentation of a material fact relating to a relevant matter – that is, the end of the relationship between the spouses, which induced an error in the administration of the Act, namely the confirmation of Ray’s permanent residence as a dependant of his wife.
The panel further stated, that having analyzed all the documentary and testimonial evidence, it concluded that on July 28, 2010, the date on which Ray’s permanent residence was confirmed in Canada as a dependant of Jane, Ray was already in an intimate relationship with Margaret whom he married in August 2013 and is now sponsoring for permanent resident status.
A member of the panel further stated that “I am of the opinion that Ray, a permanent resident but not a citizen of Canada, knowingly misrepresented “material facts relating to a relevant matter that induces or could induce an error in the administration of this Act” with respect to his first marriage to Jane and his relationship with Margaret. When confirming his permanent residence upon his arrival in Canada on July 28, 2010, as a dependant of Jane , who had been granted landing in Canada as a skilled worker, Ray did not intend to continue his conjugal relationship with Jane and was already in an intimate relationship with Margaret, who would later become his second wife and whom he is sponsoring today so that she can join him as a permanent resident in Canada.”
The member found that Ray is therefore inadmissible under paragraph 40(1)(a) of the IRPA (misrepresentation) and issued an exclusion order against him.
At Ray’s appeal before the Immigration Appeal Division, this tribunal has the jurisdiction to deal with any humanitarian and compassionate factors in his given matter. Until it is found that Ray continues to be a permanent resident of Canada and his immigration matters are dealt with, his sponsorship of Margaret will continue to be stalled.
SUKHRAM RAMKISSSOON is a member of ICCRC and specialises in Immigration Matters at No. 3089 Bathurst Street, Suite 219 A, Toronto, Ontario Phone 416 789 5756.