Decrease in number of marriage of convenience investigations, says IRCC

THE Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada’s (IRCC) says that while the number of spousal sponsorship applications it has received has increased by 32 per cent over the last 10 years, there has been a decrease in the number of marriage of convenience investigations since the probationary period was removed in April 2017.

An IRCC report that Lexbase, Canada’s leading immigration publication under well-known lawyer Richard Kurland, obtained states: “In 2019, IRCC conducted 200 investigations compared to almost 800 in 2017. However, the number of refusals of spousal applications for marriage of convenience has remained the same since 2017 with over 1,700 fraud refusals in 2019.”

The report notes that the IRCC’s “first line of defense against marriages of convenience is our officers. Immigration officers are trained to assess the genuineness of a relationship, consider the evidence provided and detect relationships of convenience. IRCC also works closely with its partners, including the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA), to identify, investigate and prosecute those who violate our immigration laws.”

It adds: “In instances of marriage of convenience or marriage fraud, enforcement action can be taken which includes issuing removal orders to a spouse or partner who commits marriage fraud on the basis of misrepresentation. This could in turn lead to their removal from Canada.”

The report points out: “It is a crime for a foreign national to marry a Canadian citizen or permanent resident only to gain entry to Canada. After a sponsored spouse or partner arrives in Canada, IRCC may become aware of potential marriage of convenience if allegations are brought forward, or when the sponsored spouse or partner makes an application to sponsor a new spouse or partner.”