Monday, November 29, 1999

Fake marriages an Indian industry: Canada

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Fake marriages among Indo-Canadians and Indians is "an industry" and the Canadian government is seriously considering legislative and administrative measures to curb this menace, a senior minister said here."There's always money involved in this at some point. It's just so disgusting. It's an industry, actually," Canadian Immigration Minister Jason Kenney said.There are thousands of fake weddings involving Indians and Canadians every year, he said.However, once the spouses are in Canada, it is difficult, if not impossible, to prove that fraud occurred, the minister said."How do you get an actual criminal conviction - proving that someone entered into the marriage and filled out immigration forms in bad faith - when they never get together and the other person says, 'We fell out of love, it was never meant to be'? How do you prove they were lying in a court of law?" Kenney said.He was commenting on a complaint filed by a 22-year-old Indo-Canadian woman who claims that she was misled by a man from India who married her to get into Canada and did not contact her after he obtained a visa."I agree... something has to be done to prevent this exploitation. Not only of individuals like her, but of our broader immigration system," Kenney said.He said the government is considering suggestions from advocates of victims who want Canada to adopt a probation period for spouses arriving from other countries.Under such systems, prevalent in countries like US and Australia, sponsored spouses don't get legal status in their new country until they have lived with their partners for a significant period.

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