Marriage fraud: Stories from victims
While many Canadians marry people from other countries, sometimes marriage is a scam to jump the immigration line. Learn about the consequences of marriage fraud and hear the stories of victims in this 5-minute video. Find out more about marriage fraud.
This video is also available in HD on YouTube where you can leave a comment, share it on your social network or embed it into your site.
Transcript: “Marriage fraud: Stories from victims”
Video length: 5:02 minutes
The video begins with the following text written in white and fading onto the black screen:
Many Canadians marry people from other countries.
A second sentence appears:
But sometimes, marriage is a SCAM to jump the immigration line.
The word “scam” is capitalized and written in red.
Both sentences fade out and the following sentence fades in:
Victims are left ABANDONED.
The word “ABANDONED” is written in red.
A woman begins to speak as her silhouette appears on screen. She is shown from the shoulders and up, in minimal lighting, to ensure anonymity. Her face is in the shadows, the lighting highlights only her right shoulder.
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN 1: I met my husband in 2002 in the hotel in Cuba that I was visiting for a week.
Cut to a close-up of her hands as she continues to speak:
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN 1: In 2005, we were married. I sponsored him and he came to Canada in 2006.
Cut to another dimly lit silhouette. She is shot from the shoulders and up, her hair is softly highlighted with light and her face is completely dark. She is speaking in French and the following English subtitles appear as she is speaking:
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN 2: He and I met in a chat room.
Cut to a close-up of her nervously fidgeting with her fingers as she continues to speak:
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN 2: One thing led to another and I developed strong feelings for him. He seemed to share them; that’s what I thought.
Cut to a silhouette of a man wearing a turban and shown from the elbows up. His blue turban is highlighted with minimal lighting. His face is unrecognizable as it is completely darkened.
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: We knew each other a little bit. That’s why I trusted her.
Cut back to a close-up of the second woman’s hands. She is still nervously fidgeting as she continues to tell her story in French. The following subtitles appear and approximately midway, the image cuts to her silhouette. The contours of her hair are softly lit and the rest of the silhouette is darkened:
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN 2: His marriage proposal came very quickly, about three weeks later. I said yes.
Cut to the first woman. She is shot from the shoulders and up, and minimal lighting reflects only off of her right shoulder. She continues her story as follows:
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN 1: I didn’t find anything untoward before he came to Canada.
Cut to David Manicom appearing on the right side of the screen. He is fully lit in a studio setting. The background is black. He says the following:
DAVID MANICOM: Sometimes you have a Canadian or permanent resident who meets a foreign national, perhaps while they’re travelling or over the Internet, and becomes convinced it’s a genuine relationship, whereas in fact the foreign national is using the relationship merely to get into Canada. And you know, the sponsor has been tricked. In other situations, unfortunately, Canadians are part of the fraud.
As he speaks, the following text credits appear on screen:
Assistant Deputy Minister
Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada
His name is in red print and capitalized, the rest is in white print.
Cut to the man wearing a turban. His silhouette is lit the same way as previously and he continues his story as follows:
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: After marriage, everything changed, and after she arrived in Canada, I was nothing to her.
Cut to a close-up of the first woman’s hands. She nervously scratches her fingers as she speaks:
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN 1: When he left on the 24th of March in 2007, it all came crashing down.
Cut to her silhouette appearing on the right side of the screen. Her silhouette is lit in the same fashion; only her right shoulder is captured by light as she proceeds with her story:
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN 1: I felt that he had now accomplished what he set out to do. He had gotten his permanent residency. He had gotten his work card. He had gotten his health card. He was with his friends, and I realized then that this was all false.
Cut to the man wearing a blue turban. The lighting is the same as in his previous appearances on screen as he continues his interview:
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN 2: After she left me, I filed a police complaint and police informed me after three days, like, she’s good in health and she’s found and… but they said, “She doesn’t want to come to you.”
The screen goes black as David Manicom begins to speak:
DAVID MANICOM: The financial obligations of a sponsor are that you are responsible for a period of three years for the person you sponsor to come into the country.
The following text fades onto the black screen during his explanation:
Sponsors are financially responsible for THREE YEARS.
The text is written in white and the words “three years” are capitalized and written in red. When the text fades off screen, David Manicom continues to speak:
DAVID MANICOM: So if the person you sponsor uses social assistance during that period, you’ll be responsible for that and will have to repay that debt.
The following text fades onto the screen during his explanation:
If the person you sponsor uses social assistance, YOU will have to repay that debt.
The text appears in white, except for the second “you” which is capitalized and in red.
Cut to a close-up of the second woman’s hands. She continues with her story in French and the following English subtitles appear on screen:
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN 2: I have been reimbursing the 10 months of social assistance he received.
Cut to a close-up of her silhouette from the shoulders up. The lighting is the same as previously, highlighting only her hair:
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN 2: I owe about $30,000.
Cut to a close-up of the hands of the man wearing a turban. He nervously agitates his fingers:
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: It’s around $40,000. It’s too much. It’s too much for me.
Cut to his silhouette. The blue of his turban and his clothing on his left side are lightly highlighted.
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: I had to pay my lawyer fee. I sent her ticket. So all my marriage expenses.
Cut to the woman whose hair is slightly contoured with lighting as she continues her story in French. The following subtitles appear:
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN 2: I sent him money because he said he needed it, or he owed some to other people.
Cut to a close-up of the first woman’s hands. She is pointing her left index finger to stress her first point:
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN 1: First of all, I remortgaged my home. Then bringing gifts and clothes, not only to his family members but to his neighbours and anyone he knew.
The screen goes black as David Manicom begins to speak:
DAVID MANICOM: There are a lot of legal consequences for engaging in marriage fraud. It is fraud. There are the possibility of criminal sanctions, which can include a fine of up to $100,000 or imprisonment up to five years or both.
The following text gradually appears on screen as David Manicom speaks:
Consequences for engaging in marriage fraud:
- A fine of up to $100,000
- Imprisonment for up to FIVE YEARS
Both “$100,000” and “five years” are written in red. “Five years” is capitalized.
Once David Manicom finishes speaking, the text fades off of the screen. Cut to the man wearing a turban as he proceeds with his story:
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Actually, I’m a little bit strong person. I tried to recover everything, but sometimes, yeah, it hurts.
Cut to a close-up of the second woman’s hands. She continues speaking in French and the following English subtitles appear on screen:
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN 2: My self-esteem took a big blow. I became severely depressed and had suicidal thoughts…
Cut to the first woman’s silhouette. The lighting remains the same:
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN 1: I had to be medicated and be off work.
Cut to a close-up of her hands as she proceeds:
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN 1: All of it, it just, it became too much. I thought that I was a worthless person; that didn’t deserve to be happy.
The screen darkens as David Manicom begins to speak:
DAVID MANICOM: We have a provision that someone who is sponsored to come into Canada for a period of five years, they cannot turn around and sponsor a new spouse or partner.
The following text gradually fades in during his explanation:
A person who is sponsored to come to Canada cannot sponsor a new spouse for five years.
As the sentence fades off screen, David Manicom proceeds as follows:
DAVID MANICOM: We will detect the fact that it’s a fraudulent marriage. You can be forbidden to enter Canada for a period of five years. Even if you get to Canada and it’s detected afterwards that it was a fraudulent marriage, you’ll be subject to a deportation.
The following text gradually fades in during the above explanation:
You can be forbidden to enter Canada for five years.
You will be subject to deportation.
Cut to a close-up of the anonymous man’s hands. Halfway through his sentence, the image changes to a close-up of his silhouette shot from the shoulders and up. The lighting slightly highlights his turban and shoulders as he speaks:
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: They make us believe, like, they love us so much, so we only get to know when it happens, like when they leave us.
Cut to the anonymous woman speaking in French, her silhouette appears on screen as it did in previous shots. The following English subtitles appear as she speaks:
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN 2: I was manipulated, there’s no doubt about that.
Cut to the first woman. Her silhouette is shot from the shoulders and up and her right side is slightly lit. As she speaks, the image switches to a close-up of her hands and then goes back to her silhouette:
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN 1: Honestly, I really never saw it coming. I thought that he was different, and I think you just have to be very careful. There are so many people across Canada that are suffering nowadays from the exact same thing that happened to me.
The screen goes black and the following text appears in white on screen:
The second sentence fades onto the screen in red below the first:
Don’t be a victim.
The following website link appears at the bottom of the screen under the two sentences:
The screen fades to black before the Government of Canada logo appears, and the screen fades to black once the logo fades off.
How to protect yourself from marriage fraud
You may be a Canadian citizen or permanent resident. Perhaps you have met someone from another country on the Internet or while travelling?
Some people deliberate marriage to a Canadian citizen as their ticket to Canada. You should think carefully before marrying someone and sponsoring them to come to Canada, especially if:
- you’ve just met,
- they want to get married quickly,
- they’ve been married or in a common-law relationship many times before,
- they haven’t shared very much information about their background or family.
If you sponsor your spouse, you must give them financial support for three years even if the marriage or relationship fails. Sponsorship is a legal contract with the Government of Canada. You must meet its terms.
If your spouse uses social assistance, you’ll have to repay the money. Also, you can’t sponsor anyone else until you repay the debt.
It is also a crime for a foreign national to marry a Canadian citizen or permanent resident only to gain entry to Canada.
Please note that some information in this video is out of date and is in the process of being updated. Specifically, sponsored spouses or partners of Canadian citizens or permanent residents do not need to live with their sponsor to keep their permanent resident status. The Government of Canada removed the condition requiring spouses and partners to live with their sponsor for two years in April 2017.
Marriages of convenience
In some cases, sponsors and foreign applicants set up a “marriage of convenience.” This is a marriage or common-law relationship whose sole purpose is to let the sponsored spouse or partner immigrate to Canada.
Our officers are trained to recognize real immigration applications. They know how to detect false marriages. They have many ways to spot marriage fraud, including:
- document checks
- visits to people’s homes, and
- interviews with both sponsors and applicants.
Canadian citizens or permanent residents who are in a marriage of convenience for immigration reasons may be charged with a crime.
Don’t be tempted by offers of money or other rewards to marry a person just so he or she can immigrate to Canada. If you do this, you may face serious criminal charges. You’ll also still have to meet the terms of the sponsorship.
Don’t feel you must help somebody by being part of a marriage of convenience, no matter what the reason. It’s not worth the risks.
Don’t get involved in a false marriage. We’ll refuse your visa and may ban you from travel to Canada for five years. This will stay on your immigration record forever.
We know that even genuine marriages can fail. But, if you enter into a marriage of convenience to come to Canada as an immigrant, we may:
- take legal action against you,
- not allow you to enter Canada for five years, and
- deport you from Canada.