A new Canadian immigration policy is set to take effect this coming fall, which is aimed at eliminating marriage fraud in the immigration system. The plan to create a two-year conditional permanent resident Canada status for sponsored spouses and partners has faced criticism, particularly over its potential impact on victims of domestic abuse as the proposal requires couples to live together for at least two years or else risk having the sponsored individual’s Canada permanent resident status revoked.
“Many believe that if they leave their sponsor or report abuse, they will lose their status and be deported,” one summary of the new policy noted. Critics have pointed out that it is already difficult to get accurate information on the rights and services available to immigrant women facing abuse as “cultural, religious, linguistic and economic barriers” often prevent them from reporting it. However, when the government posted the proposed regulations that effectively would create a conditional Canadian permanent resident status, it did specify the concerns and insisted the proposal would not apply in cases where there is evidence of abuse or neglect.
Nevertheless, family reunification remains as a Citizenship and Immigration Canada priority stream. Additional resources and infographics detailing the spousal sponsorship process can be found on FWCanada’s website.