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Sikh News 20,000 Riled By Marriage Fraud !


20,000 riled by marriage fraud

Raina Delisle, The Province ( Vancouver, B.C. Canada )

Published: Monday, June 26, 2006

A petition urging the federal government to change the Immigration Act to fight marriage fraud has been signed by more than 20,000 Canadians.

The Canadian Marriage Fraud Victim Society wants to put an end to the practice of foreigners marrying Canadians as a way to gain permanent residency in the country.

The society is calling for a three-year probationary period, during which couples must live together, before foreign spouses can be granted permanent residency.

"Marriage sponsorship is a very dangerous thing," said society member and abandoned bride Navdeep Dhillon. "This is happening to a lot of people and the government must stop it."

Many Canadians -- men and women -- who sponsor foreigners are quickly divorced and left financially liable for their ex-spouses under B.C.'s sponsorship default recovery program.

Burnaby-Edmonds NDP MLA Raj Chouhan has been leading a campaign to raise awareness of marriage fraud but says a probationary period is "aggressive" and "unfair."

"It's not a very well-thought-out solution," Chouhan said. "It will cause more harm than good."

Chouhan said immigrants may find themselves in abusive marriages with no way out for three years if the proposal were adopted.

The society was created in January and more than 200 people have already come forward to share their stories, said Dhillion, who believes there are thousands more.

© The Vancouver Province 2006