“Marriages of convenience” in India a threat to Canadian immigration system: CBSA report

posted on April 8, 2015

By Peter O’Neil, Vancouver Desi | Link to Article

By Peter O’Neil, Vancouver Desi | Link to Article

More than a third of the applications to bring new spouses to Canada from India may involve bogus marriages, according to internal government documents made public on Tuesday.

“Marriages of convenience” in India “have become a threat to the integrity of Canada’s immigration program,” states the 2013 report from the Canada Border Services Agency’s enforcement and intelligence operations directorate.

Applications involving Indian nationals engaged in phoney marriages “are constantly evolving and creatively testing the bounds of the Canadian immigration system.”

The report, which cited statistics up to 2012, said it is “presumed” that there is a link between organized crime and the arrangement of phoney marriages.

The broader problem of marriage fraud primarily involves applicants from 10 to 15 countries. The report identifies China, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, Cambodia, Nigeria, Ghana, Ethiopia, Guyana and Haiti as the “high risk” countries involving Canadian permanent residents sponsoring bogus spouses under the immigration system’s family-class section, according to Border Services.

But the report said the problem appears to be “most prevalent” in India and it makes an unsubstantiated assertion that “it has been estimated that as much as 36 per cent of the spousal caseload” involving that country “may be fraudulent.”

The report offers suggestions to Border Services and Citizenship and Immigration Canada officials to detect fraud, but that advice was not released under provisions of the Access to Information Act protecting sensitive information.

Nationally, the document shows that the refusal rate on spousal applications from all countries had been around 14 per cent from 2008 to 2011, but jumped to 17 per cent in 2012 when there were a little over 4,500 applications.

The author also delves into the implications to Canada’s immigration system of sex-selection abortions, citing statistics showing that there are 940 females for every 1,000 males in India due to the preference for having male children.

The report says the disparity is even wider in Punjab state, which is the main source of Indian migration to Canada, and notes that there are “reports” of a gender disparity within Indo-Canadian communities due to this phenomenon.

The agency implies that the resulting shortage of Indian women of marriageable age could somehow — it’s not clear how because key lines in the report being censored — hurt Canada’s immigration system.

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