Home Marriage How Marriage Can Help Prevent Deportation in Canada

How Marriage Can Help Prevent Deportation in Canada


Canada has fair and compassionate immigration policies, but facing deportation is always distressing. As with other countries, marriage to a Canadian citizen can help stop or delay removal proceedings in certain situations. This post explains Canada’s immigration options related to marriage and deportation in detail.

Marital Status and Immigration Law

Canada recognizes that marriages and family relationships deserve special consideration under its laws. Marital status is therefore an important factor when determining someone’s status and eligibility to remain in the country. Specifically, the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA) allows sponsorship applications based on marriage to a Canadian citizen or permanent resident.

There are two main sponsorship pathways related to marriage that could help prevent or pause deportation:

Spousal sponsorship. A Canadian citizen or permanent resident can sponsor their spouse, common-law partner or conjugal partner for permanent residence. Once sponsored individuals become permanent residents, they are no longer considered “deportable” from the country.

Humanitarian and compassionate grounds. Even if a sponsorship application is refused, individuals facing deportation can apply to remain in Canada on humanitarian and compassionate (H&C) grounds due to hardship factors like an established family in Canada. Having Canadian family members like a spouse can strengthen an H&C application.

Both options require meeting eligibility criteria and ultimately involve the approval of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). However, a valid marriage provides legal grounds to explore preventing removal through the immigration system before deportation happens.

Does Any Marriage Count?

Not exactly – Canadian immigration law looks closely at the nature and validity of marital relationships when assessing sponsorship and H&C applications based on marriage. Here are some key considerations:

Genuineness. Authorities examine whether the relationship is a legitimate marriage of affection, or a sham marriage entered into solely for immigration purposes. Factors like joint finances, living together, children together weigh in favor of genuineness.

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Duration. Longer established relationships where the couple have lived together in a marriage-like relationship for years provide stronger evidence of validity over rushed marriages of short duration before a deportation order.

Ongoing nature. Marriages that have broken down or where the couple has permanently separated will not qualify the migrant spouse for immigration benefits based on their Canadian family member. The relationship must be ongoing and viable.

Legal marriage. Authorities verify the marriage is lawfully registered according to the laws of the place where it was performed. Common-law relationships require cohabitation for a set period of time (varies by province).

In summary, not any type of marriage will halt deportation – it must be a real, continuing, and lawfully registered relationship according to Canadian standards to qualify under relevant immigration rules.

Using Sponsorship to Stop Deportation

For a deportable migrant, pursuing spousal sponsorship could potentially pause or cancel active removal proceedings. Here is a general overview of how the process may unfold:

1. Spousal sponsorship application submitted: The Canadian spouse applies to sponsor their migrant spouse for permanent residence status. The application requires extensive supporting documents proving the relationship is genuine.

2. Application review: IRCC reviews documents carefully. Interviews may be conducted. Removal action may remain on hold during processing, extending the applicant’s authorized stay.

3. Approval or refusal: If approved, the migrant receives permanent resident status and deportation is no longer an issue due to changed status. If refused, the next step depends on individual circumstances.

4. H&C application if refused: For refused applicants facing active deportation, the migrant and sponsoring spouse can apply directly to IRCC on humanitarian grounds for a stay of removal due to family hardships of separation.

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5. Appeal rights: Rejected sponsorship or H&C applications can be appealed through the Immigration Appeal Division for reassessment by an independent tribunal. Further appeals are possible up to the Federal Court.

6. Conditions of any stay: Individuals allowed to remain may face reporting conditions while new applications are reviewed. Active removal action is paused but not permanently canceled until permanent status is approved.

This sponsorship pathway requires diligent preparation, strong evidence and patience as processing wait times can be lengthy. However, if approved at any stage, it results in permanent resident status and closure of removal proceedings against the sponsored spouse.

Utilizing H&C Applications Alone

Where marriage occurs after removal proceedings begin or a sponsorship fails, the only remaining option may be a direct H&C application to halt actual removal from Canada. Important things to note include:

  • H&C is not an appeal process, but requests discretionary consideration from officials. Approval is not guaranteed and depends on individual circumstances.

Applicants need strong evidence of hardship factors like an established family in Canada (spouse, children), medical issues, or other compelling reasons why removal would cause unjust suffering.

Character, criminal/immigration record and compliance history are also considered, as serious issues can undermine an H&C case regardless of private life factors.

Temporary resident permits may be granted instead of outright cancellation of removal if significant obstacles exist, giving time to pursue new status avenues.

Like sponsorship refusals, rejected H&C applications may have further appeal options through tribunals and courts.

Getting legal representation improves understanding complicated processes and strength of documentation submitted for optimal chances of success.

With compassionate discretion possible through H&C applications, marriage remains a potential route to avoid removal from Canada – but each case depends on specific facts evaluated individually by officials. Quality legal advice is invaluable here.

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Can Provincial Nominee Programs Help?

In addition to spousal sponsorship, provincial nominee programs (PNP) are another potential avenue in rare cases where a deportable migrant has status eligibility through one.

Notable points:

PNPs allow certain Canadian provinces/territories to nominate skilled foreign workers to receive permanent residence faster through job offers.

Eligibility depends on individual provincial nomination criteria like Canadian work experience, education credentials, in-demand skills, and provincial connections.

Some PNP streams consider job offers and nominations by themselves as humanitarian factors that could overcome immigration non-compliance issues in balanced cases.

However, serious criminal activity, deception or security concerns may still block nomination despite other positive PNP eligibility factors.

Success also depends on Individual provincial policies toward deportable migrants and discretion of nominating officials in each case.

Overall, the flexibility of some PNP streams provides an additional long-shot option that could be considered alongside sponsorship or H&C channels if personal circumstances align well with a program’s priorities and criteria. But it remains a complex process with uncertain outcomes.


In summary, marriage to a Canadian citizen or permanent resident establishes legal grounds to halt or pause deportation through the sponsorship and humanitarian avenues available in Canada’s immigration system.

However, key considerations like relationship validity, evidence quality, processing times and appeal rights necessitate experienced legal advice every step of the way for optimal chances of success.

Although no guarantee, utilizing all applicable options gives deportable individuals the best opportunity for a compassionate review of their circumstances by officials. For those facing removal, a lawful marriage provides a lifeline of hope when navigating Canada’s fair yet demanding immigration laws.



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