Age gap doesn’t bar spouse from Canada

There are a number of immigration marriage sponsorship cases in which the age gap between the parties is one of the major concerns by a few officers as to the genuineness of the marriage.
When a marriage sponsorship application is refused by a visa officer, the sponsor has the right of appeal to the Immigration Appeal Division.
Let us examine a marriage sponsorship appeal which was recently determined by the appeal division in which a Canadian citizen who I will refer to as A sponsored B from Morocco for permanent residence in Canada.
In March 2011 B’s application was refused as the officer was not satisfied the marriage was genuine and A appealed.
These are the facts presented to the immigration division. A was born in 1968 in Canada and is a nurse by profession. She was previously married and divorced and was also in a common-law relationship. She has no children.
B was born in 1986 in Morocco and this is his first marriage. The couple’s first contact was in February 2007 on the internet site Badoo. B contacted A first because he wanted to improve his French language skills. He also arranged their rendez-vous on MSN. They began to converse a lot.
In July 2007 A traveled to Morocco and B met her at the airport. They stayed in a hotel and had intimate relations the first night.
During her stay she met B’s family and traveled to several places. At the end of the stay A wanted to pursue the relationship as they had an affinity with each other. After her return to Canada they communicated about three times per week.
A returned to Morocco in January 2008 for a short period and in September 2008 when they were wed.
In September 2010 she began sponsorship proceedings. Since the marriage A made 20 trips to the country and one visit to Tunisia.
A helps B out with moderate sums of money and when not in Morocco, the couple communicate by phone, e-mails and sometimes by Skype.
The beginning and development of the relationship between the A and B was detailed in over 800 pages of documents introduced into evidence, including e-mails, photos, money transfers, proof of the many trips the appellant took to Morocco and affidavits of friends who support the relationship.
At the appeal hearing the panel ruled that they “found both A and B to be credible. The major concern in this appeal is that on the face of it, A and B are not compatible.
“There is a large age gap of 26 years between them. They are from different cultures and religions. They have had different life experiences, in that A has already previously been with two partners and B has not. There is also a difference in their education level. A is a nurse by profession whereas B has little education.”
However, the couple has many things in common. They share a love of nature and animals. Both live in small towns in their country and are not very religious. From the testimony and affidavits of witnesses, the couple appears to get along very well.
The member said, “I agree with A’s counsel that this marriage is unconventional because of the age gap and cultural differences. But an unconventional marriage can be a genuine marriage and persons marry for all sorts of different reasons. Some persons are attracted to others who are different from them in background and age.”
The member ruled “I find, on a balance of probabilities, that this is the case here. The prima facie incompatibility of the couple is overcome in this case by the overwhelming corroborative evidence and the credibility of both A and B. There are sufficient elements of this marriage for me to consider it a genuine marriage and not to have been entered into primarily for purposes of immigration.
“Section 4(1) of the Regulations does not apply and the applicant is a member of the family class. The appeal is allowed.”

Sukhram Ramkissoon is a member of ICCRC and specializes in immigration matters at 3089 Bathurst St., Suite 219A, Toronto. Phone 416-789-5756.