"Dial-A-Marriage" Is One More Indication That Stronger Measures Are Needed To Prevent Marriage-For-Immigration Fraud


Canada's Department of Immigration has long known of the enormous amount of immigration fraud that has occurred in marriages between Canadians and overseas spouses. However, the Department has not succeeded in deporting thousands of obviously-fraudulent overseas spouses and in prosecuting Canadians involved in fraud marriage.

The Department has taken measures to prevent fraud. But its blase response to the latest in possible sham marriage techniques does not fill Canadians with confidence that existing precautions are sufficient to protect Canada and its citizens against such fraud. Additional, loophole-filling measures would help the department.

“Dial A Marriage” is the name that has been given to the kind of marriage recently conducted over the telephone between two Muslims. The simplicity and ease of the process arouse suspicions that sham marriages using this technique could multiply.

According to a Toronto Sun article of February 16 , “Two Muslim leaders have told the Toronto Sun (that) telephone marriages are permissible under Islamic law and require two witnesses and imams here and abroad to conduct the vows.”

“Mumtaz Ali, of the Canadian Association of Muslims, said he conducted a telephone marriage between a student in Toronto and his about-to-be wife in India.”

” 'The vow takes less than five minutes and a dowry is exchanged to seal the ceremony', Ali said.”

According to Canadian immigration law, the man involved in this marriage can sponsor his wife to come to Canada. Immigration authorities make an effort to check the authenticity of marriages like this by interviewing the partner who lives outside of Canada. If satisfied, authorities give a Permanent Resident visa to the overseas partner.

Authorities know of cases where, even after officials report strong suspicions of fraud, the Canadian partner insists that the person abroad be given a visa. They also know of hundreds of cases of spouses who arrive here from abroad and separate soon after. The evidence is clear that many overseas spouses have been coached in how to commit the fraud. It is also easy for officials to see that many overseas spouses consider Permanent Resident status to be a prize to cheat for.

Fraud marriage cases are usually of two kinds.

In the first variety, both partners are perpetrating the fraud and the actions resemble those of people-traffickers. Parents of the overseas spouse (or the overseas spouse himself/herself) give a bribe to Canadian parents or to the Canadian spouse. In exchange, the Canadian partner pretends to be a legitimate spouse, and the overseas partner eventually receives the right to sponsor all the “relatives” he or she can. After these “relatives” have arrived, they too wait the appropriate time and then try to sponsor as many “relatives” as possible. The next set of “relatives” do the same thing. The practice is called chain migration. It can be endless and it also can involve other fraud marriages.

In the second variety, only one of the spouses is committing the fraud. The innocent one soon discovers that the other partner really has no intention of staying in the marriage. In cases where the overseas partner is the offender, that person may disappear at the Canadian airport. Or she may boldly announce, on the drive home from the airport, the intention to leave the spouse. In these cases, the newly-arrived spouse often demands separate living quarters within the home of the Canadian spouse. In cases where the Canadian is the offender, he is solely interested in the dowry that the overseas spouse brings. Once he obtains it, he loses interest in the spouse.

In cases where naive Canadian spouses are involved, the overseas spouse often leaves the household and goes to live with other people involved in the fraud. To justify the move, the overseas spouse often files assault or incompatibility complaints with police. Since these complaints are often impossible to refute, the overseas spouse gets a divorce. He or she is aware that he or she can claim half of what the Canadian spouse owns. He or she also has learned all of the rights other Canadians have, particularly the right to collect Canadian social assistance. Unfortunately, the naive spouse is responsible for the social assistance costs for three years and has to pay the bill—even though the fraud may be quite blatant.

All of the naive spouses experience shock and broken hearts. Some have died or suffered severe health problems from the shock.

The large number of complaints against overseas spouses should be sufficient to show Canada's Department of Immigration that it has to tighten its rules. Here are some suggestions:

(1) The emphasis in marriages of Canadians to overseas partners should be primarily on prevention of damage to Canada and to Canadians. However, Canadians who perpetrate fraud should face severe consequences and overseas spouses should also be alerted to the strong possibility of fraud and of their responsibility to beware of fraud. Immigration officers overseas should be thoroughly familiar with all of the latest marriage fraud behaviour. At the very least, immigration officers in Canada should strongly discourage the practice of Canadians seeking spouses abroad and make such Canadians aware of past fraud. This should be done particularly in ethnic groups where fraud marriage has been rampant. In cases where people from suspect countries want to come to Canada as marriage partners, visas should be either severely restricted or banned. A number of Canada's ethnic groups are so large that there should be no trouble for a man or woman in that group to find, if desired, a suitable partner in Canada. The search for overseas partners retards the integration-into-Canada process (particularly of Canadian citizens who were not born here). It also insulates the overseas spouse from mainstream Canada. Obviously, it has the potential to create innumerable and unending social and economic ramifications for Canada and its citizens.

(2) The hiring in Canada's embassies and consulates of non-Canadians who feel more loyalty to their own country's people than to Canadian officials and to Canada, has resulted in much fraud and caused many problems for Canada. This hiring is done to reduce short-term costs, but the long-term costs to Canada are probably much higher than any short-term savings. Recent news stories of rampant fraud in Beijing and Chandigarh re-iterate this problem. Past hiring policy has to be re-thought. In the interim, the decisions of in-country immigration staff who interview potential overseas spouses should be reviewable by Canadian supervisory staff to ensure that in-country officers employed by Canada are not accepting bribes in return for approvals. If Canadian supervisors decide that the overseas spouse is probably engaging in fraud, the visa application process should end.

Where marriages of Canadians to overseas spouses are permitted, a number of measures should be followed:

(1) Permanent Resident visas for overseas spouses should not be granted until the couple has satisfied immigration authorities that the marriage is genuine. A Temporary Resident visa should be granted. If overseas spouses know that they are obligated to live with the person they are marrying, and that the genuineness of the marriage will be checked, they will hesitate before becoming involved in a fraud marriage.

(2) In all cases of Canadians marrying overseas partners, a monitoring process, similar to that in some countries, has to occur in Canada. Too many people have abused the system and gotten away with the abuse. In the case of fraud marriages, in which both spouses are found to have participated in the fraud, the Canadian perpetrator should be severely fined and/or be subject to imprisonment. The overseas spouse should be summarily deported. The Canadian perpetrator should thenceforth be prohibited from sponsoring another overseas spouse.

(3) Naive Canadian spouses who get duped by overseas spouses should be encouraged to report fraud. Immigration authorities have to overcome the reticence of Canadian spouses to reveal that they have been duped. Overseas spouses, who arrive at Canadian airports and suddenly disappear, should be sought out, arrested and deported. In cases where either spouse reports incompatibility, overseas spouses should be made aware, before the marriage, that they will be summarily deported. This should help to discourage fraud.

(4) Canada has to look at the whole issue of dowries. Essentially, this practice comes from societies which regard women as burdens which a husband should accept only if he is paid to bear the burden. Should Canada be telling these people that this practice (which is essentially a tradition of devaluing women) is unacceptable here? If Canada were to make such a declaration, many of these marriages would not happen. If we assume that third world marriage practices will continue for some time, a fundamental protection is necessary. Where Canadians are receiving a dowry from an overseas spouse, the dowry should be held in trust by Canada's Immigration Department until monitoring demonstrates that the marriage is genuine. If female overseas spouses become the victim of cheating, they should have been informed (prior to the marriage) that they are entitled to a refund of the dowry, but also that they bear responsibility for not exercising adequate vigilance and will be deported. This should discourage overseas partners and parents from getting involved in marriages with untrustworthy Canadian spouses. It also should remove a male Canadian's incentive to get involved in an overseas marriage solely for a dowry.

These measures should help to reduce the large amount of marriage fraud that has been reported to Canada's Department of Citizenship and Immigration.


Here is a Sham Marriage (Marriage Of Convenience) ad that has just appeared on Craig's List.

Marriage of convenience
Reply to: pers-589741109@craigslist.org
Date: 2008-02-28, 10:01AM

Im an ethnic (black) mom of one, looking for a marriage of convenience to stay in Canada.
I would like someone who is no older than 40, gainfully employed and a non-smoker.
I am very independent and do not expect you to take care of me.
Im a go getter and now that my other options have run out this is a last resort for me.
In your response please tell me what you would expect in return, mabye we can help each other out. Please serious replies only.

Location: Toronto
it's NOT ok to contact this poster with services or other commercial interests

Original URL: http://toronto.craigslist.ca/tor/w4m/589741109.html