Canadian immigration laws allow the local citizen or permanent resident of the country, the spouse sponsorship, for his/ her spouse or common-law partner in Canada. (and if the application is submitted abroad, a conjugal partner).

The sponsor needs to be eligible to sponsor. The requirements for the sponsor are contained in Regulation 133 of the IRPR. These include not being subject to a removal order, not be detained in a penitentiary, not having certain convictions and not being an undischarged bankrupt.

If the sponsor and applicant are both in Canada, an “in Canada” sponsorship can be submitted. If the applicant lives outside Canada, the application (after assessment by CPC Mississauga) is sent to the responsible visa office. There are important differences between the two routes and a consultation with experienced immigration counsel may be beneficial to understand those differences.

Inside Canada or outside, the responsible officer will need to be satisfied that the relationship is not one of “bad faith” – defined in Regulation 4 of the IRPR. This means that the couple have to prove (on a balance of probabilities) that the marriage or relationship is genuine and was not entered into primarily for the purpose of acquiring a status or privilege under the act (a marriage of convenience).

Some factors that are relevant include: Khera v. Canada (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration) 2007 FC 632

  • The length of the parties prior relationship
  • Their age difference
  • Their former marital status
  • Their respective financial situation and employment
  • Their family background
  • Their knowledge of each others histories
  • Their language
  • Their respective interests
  • Family connections in Canada and
  • Prior attempts by the sponsoree to come to Canada

If an interview is required, the case law is clear that credibility should not be determined on the basis of a memory test and must be based on real or significant inconsistencies in the evidence (Sheik v. Canada (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration) [2000] FCJ No 568). Prior attempts by the sponsoree to come to Canada.

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