Can I have my spouse's permanent resident status revoked?

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

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Dear Mr Brown:

I have been married for four years. I sponsored my husband from Jamaica and he has been living with me in Canada for almost two years. Recently, I found out that he has been cheating on me. I am really sad and heartbroken and trying to figure out how to separate from him. I want to know if there is any way I would be able to get his permanent residence status revoked because I would rather he move back to Jamaica.

-- DD

Dear DD:

The break down of your marriage is unfortunate. I am sure that many people can sympathise with your situation. To answer your question directly, there does not seem to be any ground under the circumstances that you described for having his permanent residence revoked.

During the sponsorship process, you may remember that an undertaking has to be made in order for a Canadian citizen or permanent resident to sponsor a spouse.

The undertaking

The undertaking is a binding contract between a sponsor and the minister of citizenship and immigration. A sponsor promises to provide the sponsored spouse with basic living requirements from the day they enter Canada until the end of the specified period of the undertaking. For spouses, common-law partners, and conjugal partners, the term is for three years form the date of becoming a permanent resident (for residence outside of Quebec). Furthermore, the sponsor also accepts the obligation to repay the government any social assistance payments made to or on behalf of the sponsored person during this period.

In fact, a change in circumstances, such as marital breakdown, separation, divorce, family rifts, unemployment, or change in financial circumstances, and so forth does NOT nullify the undertaking. Accordingly, considering that your husband has been with you for two years in Canada, you should be mindful of conditions of the undertaking.

Minimising marriage fraud

Although your marriage of four years may have been genuine, I think it is worth noting changes that have taken place in the last two years to minimise marriage fraud. Marriage fraud may include a marriage of convenience, which entails an arrangement between the parties for the purpose of the sponsored individual acquiring Canadian status; or Canadian citizens or permanent residents being tricked into sponsoring a foreign national who merely wishes to acquire Canadian status.

Two new rules that were set into place by the government for cases of spousal or common-law partnership are the five-year ban and the two-year legitimate relationship regulation. The five-year ban applies to an individual who has been sponsored as a spouse who is prevented from sponsoring another spouse for five years after receiving Canadian permanent residency.

In the case of the two-year legitimate relationship regulation, conditional Permanent Residency is given for spouses or common law partners who have been in a relationship for two years or less, and who have no children together. In such cases, the general rule is to demonstrate that the couple lives together for two years in a legitimate relationship in Canada.

I wish you the best of luck in your future endeavours.

For further information visit

Antonn Brown, BA, (Hons), LLB, MSc, RCIC is an immigration counsel, education agent and managing director of -- a Canadian immigration and education firm in Kingston. Send questions/comments to jamaica2canada@gmail.




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