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Conditional Permanent Residence

On October 26, 2012, Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) introduced amendments to immigration regulations to grant conditional permanent residence to individuals who are sponsored to Canada by their spouses. Their permanent residence remains conditional for a period of 2 years from the time they become permanent residents. The sponsored spouse must demonstrate that they have lived in a conjugal relationship with their sponsor for that 2-year period.

Some important details of this new change:
  • it only applies to applications received on or after October 25, 2012. It is not retroactive;
  • it does not apply to:
    • couples who have children in common at the time of the sponsorship;
    • couples who have been married or lived in a common-law relationship for 2 years or more at the time of the sponsorship application;
  • it applies to family class applications and the spouse or common-law partner in-Canada class;
  • if the sponsored person brings accompanying children, those children are also subject to the same condition;
  • the condition ends after 2 years has passed. CIC's system will be automatically updated to cease tracking of conditions once this period passes;
  • there are two exceptions to meeting the condition (must provide evidence):
    • where the sponsor has died during that 2-year period;
    • in cases of abuse or neglect by the sponsor or a person related to the sponsor;

Investigations and enforcement:
  • Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) and CIC will investigate tips received of non-compliance;
  • If investigations are pursued, officers will seek written submissions and evidence of compliance from the sponsored person. Officers will convene an interview if required;
  • If the investigation yields sufficient evidence of non-compliance, CIC will prepare a section 44 report and refer the matter to the Immigration Division ("ID") of the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada ("IRB");
  • An appeal can be filed to the Immigration Appeal Division ("IAD") if the ID issues a removal order. The IAD can consider humanitarian & compassionate factors including the best interests of the child;
The actual wording of the proposed regulatory changes are not yet available.

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