Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) has released a series of online videos to highlight the problem of marriage fraud and to help prevent Canadians travelling abroad from being fooled into a relationship of convenience.
The government released three English videos this week — one five-minute spot and two 18-second videos — that draw attention to stories from victims, financial problems marriage fraud can cause and new consequences for those involved.
“After marriage, everything changed and after she had arrived in Canada I was nothing to her,” a man, whose identity is concealed, says in a CIC video on marriage fraud.
The videos highlight a change that came into effect October 2013 that means sponsored spouses or partners must live together in a legitimate relationship with their sponsor for two years once they receive permanent residence status in Canada.
“Sometimes you have a Canadian permanent resident who meets a foreign national, perhaps while they’re travelling or over the Internet, and becomes convinced it’s a genuine relationship, whereas in fact the foreign national is using the relationship merely to get into Canada,” David Manicom, director-general of the immigration branch of CIC.
“In other situations, unfortunately, Canadians are part of the fraud.”
The videos also highlight the fact that sponsors — duped or not — are on the hook for any social assistance a sponsored partner receives while in Canada.
“You are responsible for a period of three years for the person that you sponsor to come into the country,” Manicom says in a video.
Those found guilty of marriage fraud can face a fine up to $100,000 and up to five years in jail.
“I was manipulated,” a woman, whose identity is concealed, says in one of the CIC videos. “There’s no doubt about that.”