The coronavirus pandemic has increased the importance of virtual communication channels. However, there are certain limits that have to be considered. Canada has decided that spousal sponsorship will not be taken into account unless the partners are in the same place when they are getting married. Virtual marriages simply will not make the cut if you want to sponsor your spouse for Canadian citizenship.
What is the rule?
The immigration department in Canada will not recognize virtual marriages when it comes to family-class sponsorship. However, if necessary, foreign spouses could still be given permission to cross the border and come to Canada.
The rule is not recent. In fact, it was introduced back in 2015. According to Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), only Canadian Armed Forces members will be able to provide sponsorship to their married spouse from a distant location. The conditions become even stricter if the marriage has to be conducted virtually or “by proxy” as well.
Why was this rule implemented?
Many cross-border couples are finding themselves in a tough spot today because of this rule, but that does not reduce its importance. Initially, the decision was taken to allow victims of forced marriage to escape Canadian immigration. Proxy marriages provide a loophole for this type of abuse since neither of the partners has to be physically present for the solemnization. Forcing people to get married becomes much easier when they do not have to sign the contract.
Will there be change?
However, immigration law experts are currently questioning how to apply this rule in the current situation. Many legitimate couples have taken the decision to conduct video conference weddings since the coronavirus measures make physical weddings a big headache. In virtual weddings, couples take part in virtual ceremonies through a video messenger platform.