True love will find a way

Immigration Matter

When Ravi first met Bibi (not their real names), it was love at first sight.

And Ravi immediately decided he wanted to marry her.

But on the rocky road to romance, he encountered roadblocks.

However, as they say, love will find a way.

And for Ravi and Bibi, it did.

But let me get back to the beginning of this love story.

In August 2015, while Ravi, a permanent resident of Canada,  was visiting his native country in the Caribbean on vacation, he  was introduced to Bibi, a citizen of that country, by a mutual friend. Ravi immediately fell in love with her. That  evening Bibi accepted an invitation to go to dinner with him, his mutual friend and his girl friend.

During dinner, as Ravi and Bibi chatted, he (Ravi) knew that he had finally found the woman he wanted for his bride. After dinner, they all went to Bibi’s home  where he proposed to her. The suddenness of the proposal took Bibi by surprise  and she did not  immediately respond.

But while he was ” back home,” the couple kept in touch by telephone.

However. Bibi    comes from a Muslim family and her parents did not approve of the relationship because of religious differences. Ravi is a Hindu.

After Ravi returned to Canada, Bibi continued to keep in touch with him, against the advice of her parents.

But Ravi was determined  not to allow religious differences to  prevent them from getting married.

So he told Bibi to let her parents know that although he was not a Muslim, he  was prepared to get married in both faiths – Muslim and Hindu.

In December 2015, Bibi’s parents finally consented to the marriage  and in March 2016,Muslim and Hindu marriage ceremonies were held and there was a joint reception, hosted by the families of both the bride and bridegroom, a few days after their marriage

A few months later, Ravi submitted a spousal sponsorship application on behalf of Bibi  but it was  turned down in April 2017. The visa officer was of the opinion that the marriage was not genuine and that it was solely for immigration purposes.

After interviewing Bibi, the visa officer  came to this conclusion based on the concerns which he believed were not adequately explained. He pointed out that:

  • Bibi met Ravi on August 26th 2015 while he was visiting and he proposed the same day. No reasonable explanation was provided as to why Ravi would propose the day they met or why the need to rush this relationship or why Bibi would accept a marriage proposal from a complete stranger. They married six months later and no explanation as to why the rush into a marriage.
  • No significant detail was provided on how the relationship developed. There were limited phone conversations, nothing dating back to when the couple met in 2015
  • There is a nine-year age gap, have different religious backgrounds. Limited information on how their relationship connects to one another
  • Bibi’s previous husband was also a foreigner who submitted a petition for her to reside in the USA. He died before approval was granted.
  • Marriage may be a motivation to get permanent residence in Canada.

After his sponsorship application was turned down, Ravi, retained my services to represent him in an appeal process.  I filed an appeal with the Immigration Appeal Division (IAD) and in due course received a copy of the Appeal Record which contains all of the application forms, supporting documents and notes of the officer with respect to issues and/or an interview conducted.

In mid-June, an Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Conference was scheduled for Ravi.  This conference was for the purpose of encouraging the parties to resolve the appeal without a hearing.

Before the scheduled conference, I filed proof of Ravi’s visits to Bibi ( about two or three times per year), communications between them such as e-mails and chat messages, photographs of them before and after their marriage and a stack of letters from friends and family, indicating that the marriage was in fact genuine.

After Ravi’s examination at the hearing, the Minister’s Counsel was of the opinion that Ravi was credible and provided satisfactory explanations regarding the issues that led to the initial refusal.  He stated that Ravi:

  • Provided detailed information regarding the genuineness and development of the relationship such as evidence of their ongoing communication and credible evidence of their future plans as a couple;
  • Visited his spouse on numerous occasions.
  • Adequately addressed the concerns of the visa officer through both oral and documentary information.

Further, the Minister’s Counsel was also of the opinion that should the case proceed to a full hearing, Ravi would likely succeed and that it is not in the public interest to litigate the matter further.

The appeal was then allowed by a Member of the IAD who set aside the visa officer’s decision. The officer is now required to continue processing of the sponsorship application.

Congratulations to Ravi and Bibi


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