No More Conditional Permanent Status For Sponsored Spouses Coming to Canada

Full permanent resident status will automatically be granted to spouses and common-law partners, enabling them to avoid a period of conditional permanent resident status. The removal of the conditional permanent residence provision upon landing was confirmed by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada on April 28, 2017.

The Liberal government said eliminating the condition addresses concerns that sponsored spouses or partners may be subject to abusive relationships which can be in the form of physical, sexual, psychological and/or financial.

The condition was established in 2012 as a means to deter people from seeking to immigrate to Canada through bogus relationships.

While the current government admits that cases of marriage fraud may exist, it also states that ‘the majority of relationships are genuine and most spousal sponsorship applications are made in good faith,’ adding that ‘eliminating conditional permanent residence upholds the Government’s commitment to family reunification and supports gender equality and combating gender violence.’

The removal of the condition had been expected for a while. In its Forward Regulatory Plan released in October, 2016, IRCC stated its intention to ‘[change] those provisions with the objective of addressing concerns that have been identified, such as the vulnerability of sponsored spouses.’

The IRCC had stated that ‘On balance, the program integrity benefits of conditional permanent residence have not been shown to outweigh the risks to vulnerable sponsored spouses and partners subject to the two-year cohabitation requirement . . . The proposed repeal of conditional permanent residence recognizes that the majority of relationships are genuine, and the majority of applications are made in good faith. Eliminating conditional permanent residence would facilitate family reunification, remove the potential increased vulnerability faced by abused and neglected spouses and partners, and support the Government’s commitment to combating gender-based violence.’

“The government’s action today, and over recent months, says to new immigrants and Canadians alike that they are trusted. It also reaffirms the government’s belief that the existing legislation is robust enough to be able to deal with any possible case of abuse without recourse to a conditional permanent residence provision,” said Canadian immigration lawyer David Cohen,

“The safety and well-being of all residents of Canada is paramount, and by eliminating this provision, the government will allow more newcomers to settle and integrate, knowing that Canada is their long-term home. Overall, it helps to build a stronger society for all.”