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  • Amir Akhtar

Immigration law change leaves some newcomers struggling to prove that their marriages are genuine

Updated: Oct 21, 2023

Dhaliwal arrived as a permanent resident with her then-husband, but the two separated the following year, she told immigration officials, due to her alleged abusive behavior. Shortly after their separation (they are now divorced), she met her current husband and sponsored him in 2012.

The first sponsorship was rejected because their divorce in India was not recognized under Canadian law, thus the new marriage was deemed invalid. She reapplied three times after that. Each time, the officer was not satisfied that the marriage was not entered into for the purpose of acquiring some status or privilege under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.

What makes it difficult to reverse a denial in a case like Dhaliwal’s is an amendment to the law by the previous conservative federal government. The old regulation allowed officials to reject a marriage application if it was a non-genuine marriage “and” it was entered into for immigration purposes. But now you can refuse a sponsorship because it was entered for immigration purposes.

Since the change… if the case is rejected at first, then it’s really hard to get over, because that’s a finding that was made based on what happened at the time they got married. Changes that occur later do not affect that part of the (initial) decision.

As a result, many genuine couples have also been trapped if they don’t get their cases right the first time.



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