Sponsoring spouses/common law partners/conjugal partners – Processing times
By Author: Admin | February 26, 2011
The reasons for the delay in sponsoring spouses/common law partners (currently at 24 months for cases at some visa offices such as Singapore) is a big surprise. Given that a legitimate spousal relationship is traditionally given top priority by Canada immigration, (along with dependent underage children), the immigration department usually has seen lengthy delay in processing of spousal cases as an inherent hardship for both the sponsor and the sponsored applicant for immigration to Canada. Perhaps the delay is due to the closer scrutinizing of marriage sponsorships, which has been the subject of comment by Canada’s immigration Minister. One town hall meeting contained a surprisingly high number of sponsors jilted by the spouse they sponsored. There thus a pressure from Canadians who were victimized by persons who used Canada’s immigration system to get a permanent visa based on a fake marriage. The current immigration minister is part of a government whose constituents are assuaged by law and order issues, even if this affects Canada’s international reputation; accordingly, the current immigration department policy now allocates more scrutiny to spousal sponsorships through a recent change in the law.
Specifically, there has been a change in the definition of genuine marriage at 4(1) of the Immigration Refugee Protection Regulations. Now, visa offices can refuse a marriage sponsorship visa if EITHER the marriage is deemed genuine, OR if the purpose of the marriage was predominately for immigration purposes rather than to reside together as spouses. This is a change from the law as it previously stood. From 2002 until 2010, visa offices could only refuse spousal /common law applications if there was a finding that the marriage was not genuine plus that it was entered into predominantly for immigration purposes. Such a change will make it easier for a visa office to refuse common law/spousal applications, after some scrutiny such as site visits, and intensive interviews of both the sponsor and the applicant.
Nonetheless, as a Federal election during 2011 is a strong possibility, and since sponsors of spouses have the ability to vote, the Immigration Minister announced increased allocation of resources to sponsored spouses and related classes – which will placate said sponsors of spouses, but may also mean that the refusal of spousal sponsorships will be at a faster rate.
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