The Government of Canada has repealed immigration rules that required migrants sponsored by Canadian spouses to stay in the relationship for two years before their permanent residency was fully granted. Originally conceived as a means to deter people from seeking to immigrate to Canada through non-genuine relationships, the condition was critiqued for potentially placing abused spouses and partners in a vulnerable position as leaving the relationship was impossible without losing their permanent residence status. This imbalance was compounded by the fact that only the sponsored spouse or partner stood to lose their status if the two year cohabitation condition was not met.

An exception was provided to the two year cohabitation requirement if the sponsor died during the two-year period, or in cases of abuse or neglect. However, this did not take into account the already sizable systemic and social barriers that face victims of domestic abuse who face the challenge of proving abuse or neglect, being ostracized from their community and fear being removed from Canada if the exception is not granted.

With the repeal, any case currently under investigation for non-compliance with the cohabitation condition has ceased following this repeal.

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