On March 9, 2012, the Conservative Government introduced a significant regulatory change to the Spousal-Sponsorship Program. The change will impact most people wishing to immigrate to Canada because they are either married to a Canadian, or are in a common-law relationship with a Canadian.  It is expected that the change will take affect either late this year or early in 2013.

In brief, when the change takes affect anyone who obtains permanent residency under the Spousal Sponsorship Program will acquire conditional permanent residency if:

> They were married to a Canadian for less than two years at the time of the sponsorship application;

> They were in a common-law relationship for less than two years at the time of the sponsorship application; or

> They were in a conjugal partnership for less than two years at the time of the sponsorship application.

The above-mentioned people will have to cohabit in a conjugal relationship with their sponsor for a period of two years after they become permanent residents.  If they do not, then they could lose their permanent residency, and face removal from Canada.

Couples that have been either married or in a common-law partnership for more than two years will not be subject to the condition.

As well, permanent residents who are subject to the condition and experience either abuse or neglect that necessitates separating from their sponsor will not lose their permanent residence status.

More information about the regulatory change can be found in the Canada Gazette here.

Please contact us if you have any questions or concerns about his upcoming change.

Article courtesy of Steven Meurrens, Canadian Immigration Lawyer based in Vancouver BC.
Contact details: Steven.Meurrens@larlee.com - 1-604-681-9887.

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