Ottawa Gets Cracking On Marriage Fraud
By R. Paul Dhillon
October 2, 2010
Among the measures being considered by the federal immigration department is a conditional visa where the sponsored spouse has to pass a probationary period to prove the relationship is genuine.
OTTAWA Canadians are invited to participate in an online consultation on the issue of marriage fraud, also known as marriages of convenience, Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney announced this week.
They have posted a national consultation questionnaire, available on the CIC website at www.cic.gc.ca, which will gather input on the magnitude of the problem as well as opinions and ideas on how best to address it. The questionnaire is part of consultations launched by Kenney at a Town Hall meeting held in Brampton, Ontario, on September 1.
Canadians Against Immigration Fraud (CAIF) held a town hall meeting on September 1st in Brampton and about 400 victims and supporters were there to share their stories and the effect marriage fraud had on their lives and families.
In Brampton, I heard heartbreaking stories from people duped into marriage by fraudsters simply looking for a ticket to immigrate to Canada, said Kenney.
It took a lot of courage for these people to speak out and in doing so they have helped bring attention to this sensitive issue, which undermines the integrity of our immigration system.
A backgrounder is provided to inform participants of initiatives taken by Canada and other countries to address this issue. The questionnaire will be available on the CIC website until October 27, 2010.
Ottawa is contemplating a number of measures to combat the problem where brides and grooms from foreign lands abandon their betrothed once they land on Canadian shores. Here are some of the measures being discussed.
*Introducing a conditional visa where a sponsored spouse has to pass a probationary period to prove the relationship is genuine.
*To tighten up the enforcement to suspicious marriages before handing over the visa and immigrating to Canada .
*Banning sponsored spouse to sponsoring others within a time frame after the breakdown to the marriage and sponsorship.
According Marriage Fraud War society of BC, there will be a town hall meeting in BC where victims can hear from the Minister and have an opportunity to share and make suggestions. This meeting is limited to only marriage fraud victims and supporters. To make sure the victims have the first priority a face book account is set up where wedding photographs and brief stories is required. If you are not victim or supporter, you will be deleted or removed, according to emails sent by MFW. You can follow Marriage Fraud War on twitter.
The date, time and location of the meeting will be announced on Marriage Fraud War facebook. Due to limited space, priority will be given to those who are brave enough to post their wedding photographs and a brief story for data collections purpose.
Responses to the online consultation, along with messages collected from the Town Hall meeting in Brampton and other meetings to be held this fall, as well as research data on the issue, will help inform future actions taken by the Department to address marriage fraud.
Minister Kenney raised immigration fraud issues during his recent visit to China, India and the Philippines. There, he discussed opportunities to collaborate to combat fraud, including attempts to use marriages of convenience to circumvent Canadas immigration laws.
While we may never be able to completely eliminate marriage fraud, we can and must do more to pursue those who engage in this kind of exploitation, while better protecting the victims, added Kenney.
The survey is voluntary. It is not designed as a tool to enforce Canadian law or to deal with individual cases, but rather to inform the public policy process. Individuals who believe they are victims of marriage fraud should also contact the police or appropriate authority.
For more information or to report marriage fraud, visit How to report fraud Web page at
http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/information/protection/fraud/report.asp for more information about appropriate authorities.