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<xTITLE>What is Marriage Fraud?</xTITLE>

What is Marriage Fraud?

by Marian Grande
March 2022 Marian Grande

Many people meet on the internet these days; dating sites have become a popular way to meet someone. Some people meet their significant other while away on vacation in another country. Be cautious, though, as marrying someone from another country may have devastating consequences if their intentions are false.

With the prevalence of internet fraud, it may be wise to make sure the other party is not merely seeking residence in Canada. 

When you marry someone from another country, many different laws come into play, including family and immigration laws.

When it comes to Canadian immigration, people do many things to gain a permanent residency. While some apply legally, others choose to enter Canada through immigration scams such as marriage fraud.

What is Marriage Fraud?

Marriage fraud occurs when a Canadian citizen or permanent resident marries a person living abroad or a foreigner. The person living outside Canada enters a fake marriage and asks their spouse to sponsor them into Canada. Often, the foreigner is married with a family in their mother country, and the sponsor is none the wiser.

When the foreigner obtains their permanent residency, they end their marriage. This leaves the Candian party completely devastated. The emotional and financial stress can be overwhelming. 

How to Protect Yourself 

Before marrying someone and sponsoring their move to Canada, you must consider the consequences.

  • How long have you known each other?

  • Is the person pressuring you to marry, even though you do not know each other that well?

  • Do they keep asking you about immigration into Canada? 

  • Is the person offering money if you marry them just to immigrate to Canada?

Contract with the Government of Canada 

Sponsorship is a legal contract with the Government of Canada. 

Many people do not realize that when you sponsor your spouse to come to Canada, you must support the person financially for 3 years, even if the relationship ends in divorce or breaking up.

The sponsor must also pay all sponsorship fees.

Foreigners who commit marriage fraud to move to Canada face heavy penalties:

  • Refugee and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) will refuse the foreigner's visa;

  • the foreigner will be banned from travel to Canada for up to 5 years;

  • marriage fraud will be included on their permanent immigration record; and

  • the foreigner faces deportation from Canada

What to Do if you are a Victim of Marriage Fraud

If a sponsor feels that they have been tricked and the marriage was a fraud, they have several legal recourses available. 

The first thing that should be done is consult with an immigration lawyer. You must be sincere and leave nothing out. With your lawyer, you will submit your case to Canadian immigration authorities, who should take over from there. 

For more information on reporting marriage fraud, click here.



Marian Grande is a Mediator and Founder of Absolute Dispute Resolution.

By combining positive communication techniques with her knowledge of family law, civil litigation and legal processes, Marian helps parties solve their own problems and reach lasting agreements that are conducive to all parties involved in a dispute.

Marian has over sixteen (16) years legal experience as a Law Clerk in both family law and civil litigation, handling files from beginning to end independently.

She completed her Law Clerk studies at Humber College with honours, and further completed her Mediation studies focusing on family law and civil litigation at Herzing College with high honours.

Marian is the founder of Absolute Dispute Resolution. She is a member in good standing with the Alternative Dispute Resolution Institute of Ontario (ADRIO) and the Alternative Dispute Resolution Institute of Canada (ADRIC).

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