Canada Makes Amendments To Common Law, Conjugal Partner And Spousal Sponsorship Regulations

13 Jun 2015

Immigration News

This year, starting from 10th June, the Canadian govt has made amendment to common law, conjugal partner and spousal sponsorship for Canadian immigration.

The first amendment refers to the minimum age of eligibility. Earlier, 16 year old foreign nationals were able to immigrate to Canada as spouse or partner of Canadian permanent resident or citizen. However, as part of the new regulation, the minimum age of eligibility has now been increased to 18 years.

This is considered to be the Canadian govt’s attempt to safeguard women as well as girls from early and forced marriage’s following the govt’s recent focus on addressing the victimization of women and vulnerability of women in the context of immigration. This particular amendment does align with Canada and the U.N.’s definition of a child being anyone below the age of 18.

However, we find there are two exceptions to this amendment. In the case of spouses and partners under 18 who are still dependent on their parents, the individuals would be considered a dependent children and or de facto members rather than spouses.

For spouses as well as partners under the age of 18 in the refugee camps, officers advise individuals on a case by case basis. They offer flexibility and are sensitive to the vulnerable applicants. These particular applicants are treated as de facto dependents. If these applicants do not qualify as such, they are treated on humanitarian as well as  compassionate grounds.

Futhermore, a second new regulation makes proxy, telephone, fax, internet or a similar marriage inadequate for the spousal sponsporship.

The proxy marriages are referred to marriages in which one or both parties are not present at the marriage ceremony and thus are represented by another person. Telephone, fax and internet marriages refer to marriages in which one or both parties are not physically present, but participate in the solemnization of marriage via telephone, internet, fax or similar. This can include even Facetime and Skype.

Earlier, an individual who took part in one of these forms of marriage could be eligible to immigrate to Canada as a spouse as long as the marriage is valid in the nation where it took place. However, under the new regulation, the forms of marriage are referred as excluded relationships and no longer sufficient for the spousal sponsporship.

Similar to the 1st amendment, this particular new regulation was made in an attempt to protect against the victimization of vulnerable women. These forms of marriage can facilitate forced marriage due to increased difficulty of ensuring consent since one or both the parties are not physically present.


We find, again, there are exceptions to this amendment.

If the individual who is not physically present during the solemnization of the matrimony is a member of the Canadian Armed Forces and was not present due to travel relating to his or her service, but the marriage may still be considered as valid.

If the marriage falls under the category of excluded relationship, but the individual meets the definition of common law partner, the application would continue to be processed under the relationship status category of common law partner rather than spouse.

Finally, in the case of humanitarian as well as compassionate considerations in which an individual’s safety and/or wellbeing are at risk, the officers would become flexible as well as sensitive to the new regulations.

Additionally, we find minor medications being made to the 5 year sponsorship bar of persons who were earlier sponsored to come to Canada as a partner or spouse. The medications read as follows.

A sponsor who is a citizen or a PR holder after being sponsored as a partner or spouse may not sponsor the overseas nation as a spouse or partner. Unless the sponsor has citizenship or PR or both for a atleast for a period of 5 years preceding the day on which the sponsorship application has been filed by the sponsor in value of overseas national.

All new reforms do apply only for the applications that have been received on or after 10th June 2015. An Application which has been received prior to the mentioned date will be subject to the earlier rules. This reform does apply to all temporary as well as permanent immigration programs.

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