On October 29th 2016, the Liberal government issued a statement outlining their proposal to repeal the requirement that a sponsored spouse or partner cohabit with their sponsor for two years following their arrival in Canada. This two year conditional Permanent Residence period was introduced in 2012 in an attempt to deter immigration fraud. Conditional Permanent Residence applies to spouses or common-law partners in a relationship of two years or less, who have no children in common at the time they submit their sponsorship application. If the sponsored person does not cohabit in a legitimate relationship with their sponsor for two years following their arrival in Canada, they could lose their Permanent Resident status.

The introduction of conditional Permanent Residence was intended to deter what IRCC calls “marriages of convenience”, where one or both partners pretend to be in a genuine romantic relationship in order to obtain status in Canada. Unfortunately, these regulations can also place the sponsored spouse or partner at a higher risk of abuse. In cases where the sponsored spouse or partner is suffering abuse or neglect, it is more difficult for them to leave the relationship when they may also be risking their Permanent Resident status. IRCC’s Regulatory Impact Analysis Statement discusses the impact of the current regulations:

“A sponsored spouse or partner can be vulnerable for many reasons, including age, gender, official language proficiency, isolation, and financial dependence on their sponsor. The two-year cohabitation requirement can compound these vulnerabilities, and spouse and partners who are victims of neglect or abuse are most at risk in these situations”.

Sponsored spouses or partners subject to the two year conditional period can request an exemption if they are being abused or neglected by their sponsors. However, there are a number of reasons why a vulnerable spouse or partner may not seek this exemption or even be aware that it exists. Repealing the two year cohabitation requirement is a positive step towards protecting family class applicants who are the victims of abuse by their partners or spouses. While preventing immigration fraud is an important goal, IRCC already has measures in place to detect fraudulent sponsorship applications. Visa Officers are trained to screen applications for signs of fraud, and regularly conduct in-person interviews with applicants and sponsors before approving an application. A sponsored spouse or partner is still barred from sponsoring a new spouse or partner for a five year period.  Preventing immigration fraud should not come at the expense of penalizing victims of domestic abuse.

The proposed amendment will repeal the Regulations relating to the two year cohabitation requirement in full. It is expected to come into force in the spring of 2017.


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Excellent Firm..! Always helpful, friendly and honest with their work. My personal thanks to Devika and Yana for providing excellent service. I highly recommend them for any kind of Visa application.

Amit Pandey

We wanted to write sincere thanks to John, Devika and Borders Law firm for the help throughout the process. John was extremely kind and thorough and he counselled with suitable options available for me on migration to Canada, documentation submissions, query resolutions, visa processing and continued personal support and follow up until the last step I am beyond grateful for their kindness and service. I will be using them for any changes to our companies immigration needs going forward. Would recommend this firm for anybody blindly looking for immigration help. They would guide you with complete transparency and professionalism. Thank you once again.

Annie Caplan

Devika and John were excellent. They understood how this process would change my life and helped me get to the US. John was extremely kind and thorough. When my employer in the US ended up trying to take advantage of me, they helped me transfer my visa to a new employer and had so much empathy for my situation and now I have a job in California that makes me so happy while helping others. I am beyond grateful for their kindness and service. I will be using them for any changes to my status going forward.

Charanjit singh

I and my family want to express our sincere thanks and gratitude to Devika, John and the team at Borders Law firm for assisting us with the PRTD application for my mother at a time when most processing was closed due to lockdowns. They also worked proactively with us to establish a good strategy with back up plans which gave us sufficient information and assurance. Very responsive and forthcoming with information. Proactive in processing but at the same time they put enough time in the application and the supporting details to have high quality of the application. As a result our application was processed in 1 go at a time when it was critical and sensitive time for the family. Thank you again.

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