Elimination of the Two-Year Cohabitation Period in Spousal Sponsorship Applications

August 1, 2017

As of April 18, 2017, the Department of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) repealed the conditional permanent residence requirement. The requirement for the two-year cohabitation period no longer applied to new and existing applicants under the spouse, common-law partner, or conjugal partner categories, as well as those that had the two-year requirement while being sponsored by permanent residents. Sponsored spouses and partners who already received permanent residence with the conditional requirement do not need to follow the requirement.

Before the elimination of the requirement, the condition applied to sponsored spouses or partners if their relationship was less than two years and there were no children in common. In addition, the sponsored spouse or partner was not allowed to sponsor a new spouse within five years upon entry into Canada.

The two-year cohabitation period was originally implemented by the Conservative government in 2012 for the purposes of deterring marriage fraud and marriages of convenience. However, in some situations, this resulted in potential risk of abuse where vulnerable spouses or partners were reluctant to report such abuse and stayed in the relationship in order to maintain their permanent resident status in Canada.

The announcement from the Minister of Immigration, Ahmed Hussen, proved to be a victory for abused spouses and partners, as the Government of Canada upheld its commitment to family reunification and gender equality. The Minister of Immigration stated that “[the government is] doing away with a measure that could have made a bad situation worse by possibly making people feel they needed to stay in abusive situations just to keep their status in Canada. Removing conditional permanent residence is another example of the Government’s commitment for family reunification and making it easier for immigrants to build successful lives in Canada”. The Minister of Status of Women, Maryan Monsef, added that “by eliminating conditional permanent residence, we can help ensure that people coming to Canada are kept safe from gender-based violence as they seek a chance at a better life”.

 

Related Articles

Spouses must live with sponsors for two years to keep permanent resident status

Canadian Immigration Services at the Law Office of Jeff Li

Family Sponsorship Application

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