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Spousal sponsorships - 5 year ban

On March 2, 2012, the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations ("Regulations") were amended to preclude a sponsor from sponsoring a spouse, common-law partner, or conjugal partner for a period of 5 years if the sponsor himself or herself became a permanent resident as a result of being sponsored by a former spouse.

The new amendment reads like this:

(3) A sponsor who became a permanent resident after being sponsored as a spouse, common-law partner or conjugal partner under subsection 13(1) of the Act may not sponsor a foreign national referred to in subsection (1) as a spouse, common-law partner or conjugal partner, unless the sponsor
(a) has been a permanent resident for a period of at least five years immediately preceding the day on which a sponsorship application referred to in paragraph 130(1)(c) is filed by the sponsor in respect of the foreign national; or
(b) has become a Canadian citizen during the period of five years immediately preceding the day referred to in paragraph (a) and had been a permanent resident from at least the beginning of that period until the day on which the sponsor became a Canadian citizen.

Any applications that were received by immigration prior to March 2nd will be processed under the old rules (ie. no 5 year waiting period). All new applications are subject to this new amendment.

Until now, a sponsor was prevented from sponsoring a second (or subsequent) spouse for a period of 3 years after the arrival of their first spouse. This stemmed from the period of the undertaking that sponsors are required to sign, during which time they are financially responsible for the sponsored person.

The new regulations apply exclusively to the sponsored person who has just gained permanent residence. I would have thought it logical for the Minister to impose a waiting period on the sponsored person which corresponded with that which sponsors are already subjected to (ie. 3 years). I suspect the more lengthy period is meant as a punitive measure for individuals the Minister has assumed came with fraudulent intent, in marriages of convenience.


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