Immigration guide for detecting marriage fraud called ‘racist and offensive’

More on the training guide on marriage fraud (Immigration officers told to pay close attention to Chinese/non-Chinese marriages). The Department’s case would be strengthened if it released the current instructions rather than asserting that these have been changed.

In any case, these revised instructions will likely come out later as I assume somebody or organization as requested the revised instructions under ATIP:

The three-page training guide, titled “Evidence of Relationship,” lists clues officers should look for in assessing a spousal sponsorship application. Ostensible warning signs that it’s a sham marriage include: couples who are not depicted kissing on the lips in their wedding photos; university-educated Chinese nationals who marry non-Chinese; a small wedding reception in a restaurant; a Canadian sponsor who is relatively uneducated, with a low-paying job or on welfare.

Other red flags include couples who don’t take a honeymoon trip, perhaps because they were students or lack the financial resources to do so; no diamond ring; and photos of activities together taken in Niagara Falls, Niagara-on-the-Lake and Toronto.

The training material, obtained under an access to information request and posted online by immigration lawyer Steven Meurrens, has created an uproar on social media among some Canadians and their foreign-born spouses.

“We all thought it was a joke. There’s no way this was real. Then we found out the guide was real and it was like, ‘Oh, my God, this is discriminatory. It’s against the Charter,’” said Saulnier, 37, who met his wife, Juliana, 35, while she was studying English in Toronto in 2011.

“I was born in Canada. This is racist and offensive. I’m just floored that this is accepted as criteria Immigration uses in judging the validity of my relationship,” added the software executive, whose wife is among thousands of foreign spouses waiting for long periods — the current average is 26 months — to be granted permanent residency.

Citizenship and Immigration Canada denied that the training material was racist and insisted all spousal applications from around the world are assessed equally, against exactly the same criteria, regardless of country of origin.

“The specific document you are referencing was an ad hoc document issued to officers nearly five years ago in response to an observed temporary spike in cases of marriages of convenience,” department spokesperson Nancy Caron told the Star.

“The instruction has not been active for more than three years, as the conditions that led to the instruction being issued subsequently changed.”

Immigration guide for detecting marriage fraud called ‘racist and offensive’ | Toronto Star.

About Andrew
Andrew blogs and tweets public policy issues, particularly the relationship between the political and bureaucratic levels, citizenship and multiculturalism. His latest book, Policy Arrogance or Innocent Bias, recounts his experience as a senior public servant in this area.

One Response to Immigration guide for detecting marriage fraud called ‘racist and offensive’

  1. Marion Vermeersch says:

    Besides being absolutely discriminatory, this is really laughable!. It is hard to believe they would use criteria such as “small wedding in a restaurant”, “low paying job”, “no diamond ring” etc. to judge whether fraud is being committed by way of a sham marriage. Lots of us “mere mortals” out here in Canada would never have passed that test based on those three items alone. It makes one wonder just who are the authors of such nonsense at Citizenship and Immigration. This particular material may no longer be in use but are those people still in charge of criteria for decisions?

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