Scrutinizing Sponsored Spouses aka Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner – the CBSA

By Author: Admin | April 3, 2011

The current Canadian government (also known as the Harper government) is proposing changes to the spousal/common law part of the  family class of immigrants to Canada.  Specifically, there is a proposal to impose a term and condition for spouses sponsored by Canadians: they must reside with the spouse for at least two  years.   This is in line with other Western countries like the USA, Australia, and the UK.  This is meant to reduce the fraud and is in concert with other similar measures such as Operation Honeymoon.

The measures are also consistent with the Harper government’s intent to crackdown on crooked immigration consultants, pass restrictive refugee reform,  make the law  easier to refuse spousal sponsorships, and blacklist employers who have been determined to have abused foreign workers.

All of the above will cost the government more money.  One source of cost savings would be to trade off the family re-unification parts of Canada’s immigration  law in favour of its economic purposes.    That is the price of an immigration system geared solely towards Canada’s economic interests.   The enthusiasm towards cracking down on abuse in Canada’s immigration system is something that will cost tax payers a great deal of money.   Such enthusiasm is likely an attempt by the current government to distinguish itself from the other parties in this election by appealing to the ‘law and order’ contingent of Conservative support, and the resulting increased government intervention into the lives of both recent immigrant, and illegals, as well as Canadians is not as important to the Conservative base.

Indeed, I have heard that the main enforcement officer in the Greater Toronto Area, (known, oddly enough, as the Greater Toronto Enforcement Centre) has hired 60 more staff members to deal with allegedly fake marriages. That’s going to mean a lot of CBSA officers inviting themselves over to a spousally-sponsored immigrant’s home, and browsing the contents of bedroom drawers.  Where is the money going to come from?  As a Canadian immigration lawyer, should I care where the money is coming from?  The bottom line is that such an increase in staff will mean more work for people in my vocation.

Perhaps the funding for the additional enforcement of Canada’s immigration laws will come from changes to Canada’s visa granting system.  Canada’s immigration delivery system has been subject to modification by the Harper government.  The Harper government has  reduced resources devoted to the intake of other immigrants such as parents, and has streamlined the processing of federal skilled workers by having the initial screening of skilled workers done in Canada at a Centralized Intake Office, rather than by far-flung individual visa offices.

A Housecall from a CBSA officer should be a cause for concern

The proposed two year restriction on a permanent resident visa sponsored spouses would focus on “cases targeted for fraud”, and not be and across-the board-imposition.  This could mean that the two year restriction would be imposed based on a recommendation of a visa officer overseas, who interviewed an applicant being sponsored and may have some reservations about the issuance of a permanent resident visa with no restrictions.  The CBSA in Canada would subsequently, after two years of acquiring permanent resident status,  conduct interviews such as those seen in the movies The Wedding Banquet, and  Green Card.


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