On July 31, 2012, I appeared on Alberta Primetime to discuss Immigration Marriage Fraud.
The other guest was Dr. Noorfarah Merali, a professor at the University of Alberta, who has researched immigration policy for the past 10 years. Her research indicates the majority of marriages that involves immigration sponsorship end within 24 months; I am looking forward to reviewing any published articles by Professor Merali to understand her statistics and sources.
In my experience, immigration sponsorship is another stressor to marriage. Thus, marriage fraud may not be the causative factor to marriages that fail. Further, when a marriage breaks down and divorce proceedings initiated, the narrative of the relationship histories change.
Self-promoter and professional victim Lainie Towell has been in the media and is attempting to publish a book. She claims to be a victim of marriage fraud. However, her allegations are in contrast to the findings of the Immigration and Refugee Board. The reality is that her husband was deported not for marrying her simply to immigrate to Canada, but that he concealed a child (which, as it turns out, may not actually be his).
Perhaps motivated in part by Towell's high profile grandstanding against marriage fraud, Jason Kenney, the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration Canada, has announced (and now implemented) a 'conditional' visa for sponsored spouses valid for 2 years.
It remains to be seen whether this new policy will be effective in cracking down on immigration marriage fraud; or whether it may engender an unintended consequence of abuse to the sponsored spouse. CIC has recently launched a campaign on marriage fraud.
In my experience CBSA does not have the resources to investigate alleged marriage fraud right now; I fail to see how a new policy will lead to increased enforcement. I do agree with CIC's efforts to raise awareness on this issue.
Raj Sharma JD LLM