Action can be taken against a spouse for misrepresentation

Immigration Matters

Sukhram Ramkissoon

Action can be taken against a spouse

for misrepresentation

Over the many years that I have been writing my weekly Immigration Matters column, I have had numerous  inquiries from readers about  what action could be taken against cheating spouses – persons who got married to a Canadian resident or citizen for the sole purpose of  obtaining permanent resident status in Canada.This week I  am devoting my column to a recent letter from a woman who wanted  to know whether she could withdraw the sponsorship of her husband several years after they got married.

Dear Mr. Ram:

I am a regular reader of your column and I believe you will be able to give me some advice about a matter which is now causing me a great deal of unhappiness and stress.

Several years ago, I went to Trinidad to visit relatives. While vacationing, I met a man.  During the course of our relationship, he told me that he loved me and he would be happy to join me in Canada if, as a Canadian citizen, I would sponsor him.

I carefully thought about his proposal and decided to take a chance on love.

So I got married to him and soon after I applied to sponsor him and our application was successful.

That was more than five years ago. Things  appeared to be going fine in our marriage until recently. He started coming home late at night and never offered an explanation. He told me that whatever time he comes home is none of my business. Just the other day, I learned from one of my girlfriends, that he was seen at different times with women late at night at parties in the city.

A few days ago, I was going through his phone.  I don’t apologize for this because, as a wife I felt that I had an obligation to seriously know if he was cheating on me.  I found a WHATSAPP message from a woman. It seemed to me that , based on their conversations, she was an old girlfriend living in Trinidad.  In the message which I read, she kept asking when he was coming back to marry her, liked they planned, so he can sponsor her.

The woman said he was taking too long to file for a divorce and to “get rid of the old –tch.”  I cannot  say the word which she typed. I am so upset, ashamed and embarrassed.  But I guess you can figure out the word.

Mr. Ram, please help me.   Is it possible that after all these years, I can withdraw my sponsorship?

I look forward to your reply.

Call me CHEATED.


Dear Cheated,

I am very sympathetic to your plight which is not as uncommon as you may think. First of  all, once a person is sponsored and he/she arrives in Canada and is granted permanent residence at the port of entry or at an inland office, you (as the sponsor) cannot withdraw your application.

The sponsorship withdrawal process applies only from the day you file your application until the day your spouse is granted permanent residence.  In your case, your spouse was granted residence at the port of entry. However,  even if he obtained his visa at the Port of Spain visa office and boarded a flight to Canada, your application could be withdrawn, if the officer at the port of entry had prior knowledge of your intention to withdraw the sponsorship.

A few years ago, there was a law that a spouse could be given conditional permanent status and be required to live with his/her sponsor for a period of two years.  This law has been changed. However, there are other laws that may be enforced if a sponsor suspects that he/she has been “used “by a person to come to Canada as a spouse with no intention to reside or live with his/her sponsor.

If Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada has reason to believe that your husband may have misrepresented his relationship with you in order to gain status as a permanent resident of Canada, he can be scheduled for an Inquiry by a Canada Border Services Agency Officer for misrepresentation.

The law clearly states that a permanent resident or foreign national is inadmissible for misrepresentation under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act 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 the Act.

The law further states, that a foreign national shall not be considered a spouse if the marriage or common law relationship was entered into primarily for the purposes of acquiring status or privilege under the Act or is not genuine.

Dear Cheated, if you  believe that  your husband has used you as a boarding pass to come to Canada, the ball is now in your court. You may contact Canada Border Services Agency and inform them of  the reasons why you suspect that your marriage was not one of substance and that you believe that you have been “used” by your husband so he can obtain status as a permanent resident and that he has no intention of living with you. Let them know about your feelings and observation and the messages that you have read.

Please  note that the information I have provided is should not be interpreted as legal advice.

For legal advice, as you should consult CBSA or an attorney.

Good luck.

SUKHRAM  RAMKISSOON is a member of ICCRC  and specialises in Immigration Matters at No. 3089 Bathurst Street, Suite 219A, Toronto, Ontario,.  Phone 416 789 5756.