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Arranged Marriages Risk Immigration Scrutiny

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Arranged Marriages Risk Immigration Scrutiny

Jan 7, 2005
3,450
3,760
Metro-Vancouver, B.C., Canada
source: http://www.cbc.ca/canada/toronto/story/2010/05/03/arranged-marriages.html


May 3, 2010

Arranged marriages risk immigration scrutiny

By CBC News
CBC News

Proposed changes to Canada's immigration laws have some Canadians with roots in South Asia worried that arranged marriages will face increased scrutiny from immigration officials.

Proposed changes to Canada's immigration laws have some Canadians with roots in South Asia worried that arranged marriages will face increased scrutiny from immigration officials.

Citizenship and Immigration Canada officials want to crack down on marriages of convenience that adopt the guise of an arranged marriage. But a proposed change to the law could frustrate couples who decide to marry through such a union.

The tradition of an arranged marriage is a way for many to stay connected with the culture of their ancestors. Some matches may come from as far away as India, Sri Lanka or Pakistan.

One of the rights Canadian citizens have is the ability to sponsor a wife or husband for Canadian citizenship.

Monday marks the end of a 30-day consultation period of Section R4 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, which deals with so-called bad faith marriages.

Citizenship and Immigration Canada is concerned some people are taking advantage of the current system through marriages of convenience.
CIC has proposed amendments that would allow immigration officials to refuse visas to applicants if they suspect a marriage of convenience.

Long-distance matchmaking

But opponents to the plan say that in a traditional arranged marriage, the relationship really begins after the marriage happens. In many arranged marriages, partners here are seen as a good match simply because they live in Canada and have successful lives.

Vaseeharam Sabaratanam and his wife Shaline Mohanadas were married two years ago in Malaysia, where Shaline is from.

"We were introduced by a friend over the phone," said Mohanadas. "We got to know each other for a few months over the phone, he proposed to me over the phone after knowing each other for about six months. So we never dated or anything such as that."

But it took two years before the couple could start a life together in Toronto, where Sabaratanam lives. Under the new rules, couples like them could have their applications subjected to more scrutiny or rejected outright. A spokesperson for Citizenship and Immigration said the amendment could come into effect within 18 months.

Imran Qayyum is the chair of the Canadian Migration Institute and represents about 1,750 immigration consultants and lawyers across the country.

He said because couples in arranged marriages often don't meet until they are married, such unions may falsely raise red flags with government officials.

"The visa officer could assume that the marriage was entered into primarily for immigration," said Qayyum. "And the visa officer could refuse it even though it might be a genuine marriage."

The Canadian Migration Institute has submitted objections to Ottawa, arguing that the proposal could also stop honest arranged marriages, especially from South Asia, where parents arrange 90 per cent of marriages and matches from the West are highly sought after.

Citizenship and Immigration Canada says the amendment could go into effect within 18 months.


Canadian Broadcasting Corporation
 

spnadmin

1947-2014 (Archived)
SPNer
Jun 17, 2004
14,500
19,179
Soul_Jyot ji

Thank you for keeping us up-to-date on the situation in Canada. But as one who is totally neutral on the subject of arranged marriages (given that love-marriages in the US break up at a rate greater than 50 percent) I still have to comment.

There is more to this article than meets the eye. Are there some dots that need to be connected to understand what these changes portend?

Here are some red flags for me. I don't live in Canada, but perhaps there is a Canadian or two who might be interested in my impressions.

If the purpose behind arranged marriages is to continue traditions, then the example the correspondent used is not a good example. There is however a growing trend among people with Indian roots. Parents are asked to bless arrangements that are not made the traditional way, when marriages are arranged by parties interested in the well-being of a couple.

Vaseeharam Sabaratanam and his wife Shaline Mohanadas were married two years ago in Malaysia, where Shaline is from.

"We were introduced by a friend over the phone," said Mohanadas. "We got to know each other for a few months over the phone, he proposed to me over the phone after knowing each other for about six months. So we never dated or anything such as that."

Another concern that should ring bells or at least it does for me--

"The visa officer could assume that the marriage was entered into primarily for immigration," said Qayyum. "And the visa officer could refuse it even though it might be a genuine marriage."

It is reported that it can take up to 2 years for a couple married outside of Canada to be re-united. I actually know a couple who were in this predicament...engaged and married in Singapore, and only re-united last year and now living in Canada. Since both of them are professional and have doctoral degrees and both are Sikhs it is unlikely that a scam is underway.

So given the profoundly misinformed news coverage regarding Sikhs, separatists, terrorism on the "rise" and the myriad of related negative articles rising from official government sources, the statement below...

Citizenship and Immigration Canada is concerned some people are taking advantage of the current system through marriages of convenience.

CIC has proposed amendments that would allow immigration officials to refuse visas to applicants if they suspect a marriage of convenience...

has me wondering if there is some kind of anti-immigrant, anti-Aisan, and xenophobic current in the electorate right now that is the fuel for this change, and negative press coverage of Canadian Sikhs.

There are abuses of immigration laws. No doubt about it. Is this the cure?

Please forgive me if I am speaking out of turn. In the US we are facing a rising tide of animosity in the electorate toward immigrants and people from other cultures. I try to think outside of the parochial limits of my own experience because this could happen here.

 

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