Marriage fraud: Canadian immigration ...

Marriage fraud: Canadian immigration officials tread thin line

Posted in the Georgetown Forum

JAKE

Georgetown, Canada

#1 Jul 14, 2013
Soomro, a Canadian citizen who lives in Georgetown with his parents and sister, submitted wedding photos, receipts, their wedding certificate, a DVD, and the couple’s communication on Facebook. His wife was interviewed in Pakistan. He was not.


Soomro’s family, who moved here from Pakistan in 2001, said it is not unusual for Pakistani men to have older, educated wives. He is a high-school graduate and she has a university degree in economics.


However, the officer also wrote:“(The wife) is the second of six children; the elder sibling is married, but the younger ones would be dependent children of her parents. This provides a potential benefit for the family, were a child to become a permanent resident of Canada.”


Soomro, who is deaf and works full-time as a baker at Tim Horton’s, is appealing the decision. His family does not believe his deafness factored into the rejection.


In some cases, where a spouse is already in Canada, the investigation may also include a surprise visit to the couple’s home.


That occurred in a case where border officers noticed the address on Xiu Yi Xuan’s driver’s licence was different than the address of her Canadian husband.


In a scene reminiscent of the 1990 romantic comedy Green Card, about a marriage of convenience, the Canada Border Services Agency made an unannounced visit to the couple’s Markham home to investigate.


Xuan, a failed refugee claimant from China, was home at the time and unable to produce her husband’s toothbrush (she claimed they shared one). She couldn’t say whether her husband used an electric razor or a disposable one, nor could she show the officer any evidence of his socks or underwear.


Despite other indications it was a genuine marriage — joint bank accounts, joint insurance, joint donations and ownership of a Stouffville property — Xuan was arrested. The couple’s spousal sponsorship was rejected and, most recently, their appeal to Federal Court denied.


“The choice to assign greater weight to the less prepared, extemporaneous evidence lies within the discretion of the officer,” Justice Michael Phelan said in his January ruling.“It is a reasonable choice, given the nature of the inquiry, which is to determine how a person lives — not merely how they say they live.”


Xuan and her Canadian husband, who have a baby, declined to be interviewed.


Max Berger, the couple’s lawyer, would not discuss the case, but commented that “whether a marriage or a relationship is genuine is the most difficult decision that an immigration officer has to make in any category of immigration.”


Citizen and Immigration refused to reveal the specific criteria used to decide if a marriage is real or fake, but a federal ‘operational manual’ for processing family class members, obtained by the Star, outlines in detail the questions an officer must consider. Among them:


Do the spouses have good knowledge of each others’ personal circumstances, background and family situation?


Is there a history of multiple marriages and divorces?


Have previous relationships clearly ended?


Do the applicants speak a common language?
JAKE

Georgetown, Canada

#2 Jul 14, 2013
simmerin

Toronto, Canada

#4 Jul 14, 2013
Art

Georgetown, Canada

#5 Jul 15, 2013

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