When you marry someone not to create a durable relationship, but to facilitate the immigration of the person you married, you are engaging in sponsorship fraud. This is illegal. There can be serious financial and personal consequences for you.
For more information on spousal sponsorship fraud, please see http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/information/protection/fraud/marriage.asp.
As a sponsored person – be careful
Do not trust people who ask you to pay for a sponsorship.
- If you are being sponsored, you do not have to prepay or repay your sponsor for your basic needs. When agreeing to sponsor you, your sponsor is agreeing to provide for you for 3 years without you having to repay them.
Do not trust people who promise that your application will be approved.
- The Canadian immigration programs are based on fairness, you therefore cannot pay to ensure your application will be approved, or pay to speed up the process.
As a sponsor – be careful
Do not trust a person who offers to pay you to sponsor them.
- In situations of spousal sponsorship, this is called a “marriage of convenience” and is illegal. You can face serious criminal charges and you are still obliged to provide for the basic needs of that person for 3 years.
The Canadian government has passed a number of regulations in an effort to try and prevent sponsorship fraud.
For example, in October 2012 the government now obliges that spouses who have:
- been married less than two years AND
- have no children
must live together for at least two years following the government offering the sponsored spouse permanent residence.
If you do not live together for the two years, the sponsored person can lose the right to stay in Quebec and Canada (the legal term is “having your permanent residency revoked”).
The only exception to this new regulation is if the sponsored person or his/her children are subject to abuse.
For more information on this specific regulation, please see http://www.gazette.gc.ca/rp-pr/p2/2012/2012-11-07/html/sor-dors227-eng.html.
- Provincial – Quebec
- if discovered committing fraud, it is considered to be an infraction against the Canadian Government
- you will have to pay a 500 to 1000$ fine
- see section.12.3 Loi sur l’immigration au quebec
- Federal – Canada
- you could pay up to a 100 000$ fine
- you can be imprisoned for up to 5 years
- the permanent residency of your spouse could be revoked and they could be deported
- see section. 40.1 Loi sur l’immigration et la protection des refugiés
What are my responsibilities as a sponsor?
As a sponsor, you have the responsibility to provide the basic needs for the person you are sponsoring for 3 years. This means that you need to :
- supply food
- supply basic clothing
- supply basic personal necessities (e.g soap, bed, etc.)
- dental and eye care, and other health needs not covered by public health services available to all Canadian citizens and permanent residents
Even if the person you are sponsoring runs away, these obligations will remain!
If I am on welfare, can I sponsor my husband?
No. You must be able to provide for yourself financially and promise to provide for the basic needs of the person you are sponsoring. That means you must be able to supply the food, clothing, personal necessities, and housing of the sponsored person for 3 years.
Can I cancel my sponsorship?
No. Once the visa is issued, sponsorship cannot be revoked. Sponsoring someone is an unconditional promise (the legal term is a contractual agreement), which means it cannot be broken.
For how many years am I responsible for the person I am sponsoring?
You are required to provide for the basic needs (food, clothing, personal necessities, and housing) of the person you are sponsoring for 3 years.
Even if you break up with that person or he runs away, you are still responsible for those 3 years.
For example, if your spouse runs away you will be required to pay back any welfare he may have claimed.
If I separate from my spouse, can I revoke my sponsorship?
No. Spousal sponsorship is a 3 year commitment where you unconditionally promise to provide for the basic needs of the person you are sponsoring (food, clothing, personal necessities and housing). Once sponsorship is granted, you cannot revoke it and you are obliged to fulfill your promise to provide for the basic needs of the person, irrespective of whether or not your relationship deteriorates.
What happens if I sponsor my spouse and we get divorced?
Even if you divorce your spouse, you are still responsible for his or her fundamental needs. This is an unconditional agreement, and therefore you are required to provide for their food, clothing, personal necessities, and housing.
My husband sponsored me to come to Quebec, and I am a victim of conjugal violence – what can I do?
You can separate from your husband at any point. See “I want to leave my partner” for further information. Once your sponsorship has been issued, he cannot revoke his sponsorship. You therefore do not need to worry about the status of your residency in Quebec in case you get divorced or move out.
Once your sponsorship has been issued, your spouse cannot revoke their sponsorship. You therefore do not need to worry about the status of your residency in Quebec in case you get divorced or move out.
However, since October 26 2012, if you have been married for less than 2 years and that you do not have children while requesting for sponsorship, you have the obligation to live with your spouse for at least 2 years after that your permanent residency request has been approved.
These conditions however will not apply if you or your children are subject to abuse, although it will be your job to prove that such abuse has taken place. This can be proved by different ways, like for instance with a police report, a letter from a shelter, etc.
This area of law can be particularly complex. For this reason, it is strongly recommended that you consult with a lawyer for any further questions