Immigration Matters Sukhram Ramkissoon
Couple who entered third marriage succeeds at immigration appeal hearing
I have been asked by a reader, a Canadian citizen who was previously married and divorced, whether he can sponsor his spouse who herself was previously married and divorced. Like him, she has entered into her third marriage.
Well, of course, he can sponsor her. A Canadian citizen or landed immigrant can sponsor his/her spouse, irrespective of the number of times he/she was previously married, as long as the sponsor meets all the eligibility requirements under the immigration law. It is up to the visa office to assess whether the marriage is genuine or whether the marriage is solely for immigration purposes- in other words, a marriage of convenience.
So, let us look at a case which was recently determined in a positive manner in which both parties were previously married for the third time.
The sponsor is a 66-year-old permanent resident of Canada, and his wife is a 57-year-old citizen Viet Nam. They first met in August 2015 when the wife was in Canada on a visitor’s visa and was attending the baby shower of a relative. The husband who is the work colleague of the wife’s relative, was also present.
The couple began dating and this evolved into a long-distance relationship when the wife returned to her country in September 2015. The wife visited the husband in Canada for approximately five months in 2016. Then in 2017, she came to Canada. She and her husband were married on April 2, 2017 and she thereafter remained as a visitor.
The husband filed an overseas sponsorship application which was refused and he took the matter to to the Immigration Appeal Division where it recently came up for hearing.
The onus of proof was on the husband to show, on a balance of probabilities, that the marriage is genuine and was not entered for immigration purposes. At the appeal both husband and wife testified and additional documentary evidence was provided by the husband to establish that his marriage is indeed genuine.
In allowing the appeal, the immigration panel stated that based on the evidence. it found the witnesses’ testimony and the documents in relation to this marriage to be generally credible and trustworthy and demonstrative of the development of a genuine spousal relationship.
The couple provided detailed,consistent and credible evidence of the genesis and development of their marriage. They testified that they maintained contact with each other regularly from before the marriage. They both have lived together since their marriage, and they provided consistent evidence regarding their time spent together before and after the marriage. There was sufficient credible documentary evidence to support and corroborate the testimony.
Overall, the panel found that the evidence demonstrates the genuine nature of the relationship.
The panel further ruled, that the evidence was not without its difficulties. but that any difficulties were not of such a nature or extent as to generally undermine the credibility of the couple and the husband and the wife were able to provide satisfactory explanations for most of the immigration officer’s and Minister’s counsel’s concerns in relation to the genuineness of this marriage.
The panel ruled that on a balance of probabilities,the couple had formed a genuine relationship and were not married for the purpose of acquiring or gaining status or privilege under the immigration law and allowed the appeal.
The negative decision was set aside, and the visa office must continue to process the application according to the reasons of the decision.
SUKHRAM RAMKISSOON is a member of the Immigration Consultants of Canada Regulatory Council (ICCRC) and specializes in Immigration Matters at No. 3089 Bathurst Street, Suite 219A, Toronto, Ontario. Phone 416 789 5756.