A five-year sponsorship bar to crack down on bogus marriages of convenience falls short of addressing the real problem, critics said Friday, shortly after Immigration Minister Jason Kenney announced the regulatory change.
Starting immediately, Kenney said spouses will have to wait five years from the day they are granted permanent residence status before they can sponsor a new partner…
NDP immigration critic Don Davies, however, said the new rule fails address those cases in which Canadian citizens are complicit in these bogus marriages.
Canada should be investing more resources into overseas immigration bureaus that vet applicants before they come to Canada in order to stop marriage fraud before it occurs, Davies said.
“Of all the problems in the immigration system — we have a backlog of a million, wait times are appalling, we have hundreds of thousands of families in this country who are unable to sponsor their parents because there’s a freeze . . . and Minister Kenney thinks the most important thing to legislate on is the relatively small number of people who are engaged in marriages of convenience. I don’t think that that’s where the focus of immigration reform should be,” he said.
“Where I would put my focus is on prevention rather than the defeatist position of the minister which is simply to ramp up penalties after the problem has occurred and after the pain has been caused.”
That said, Davies fears the government will actually cut resources for overseas missions by five to 10 per cent as part of austerity measures being taken by all departments in a bid to erase the federal deficit by 2015.
Canadians will find out more when the budget is tabled on March 29.