A Cuban man who was found to have engaged in a marriage scam by marrying a Canadian woman in order to obtain permanent resident status in order to be able to remain in Canada may be deported.

The man who claimed that he could not work and was unable to have sex due to a herniated disc in his back was found to have regularly gone salsa dancing in the same period of time, calling into question his credibility, and ultimately leading multiple federal immigration bodies to conclude that the marriage was not genuine.

What Happened?

The Canadian woman travelled to Cuba in February 2010 where she met the Cuban man, who was five years her junior. The woman said that the man was the one who approached her, was considerate and “displayed a great deal of affection for her”. They entered into a romantic relationship, which continued, long-distance, after she returned to Canada. The woman described the man as “persistent”.

After her return to Canada, the woman made several trips back to Cuba to visit the man. Over the course of those visits, the man proposed in December 2010, and a wedding ceremony was held in February 2011.

The woman filed a sponsorship application about a month after the wedding and continued to visit Cuba until the man arrived in Canada in March 2012 and obtained permanent resident status.

Following the man’s arrival, the relationship deteriorated. The woman said that while the man had been “devoted, loving and affectionate” toward her while in Cuba, when he came to Canada he was “distant and cold” towards her. Similarly, she noted that while intimate relations between the couple had been “frequent” in Cuba, they were almost non-existent in Canada. The woman further noted that the man had complained of a herniated disk, allegedly rendering him unable to work or participate in physical activity. The couple ultimately separated in October 2012.

In December 2012, the woman wrote to the Immigration Division of the Immigration and Refugee Board (ID) to denounce the man. She also filed a motion to annul the marriage, which was ultimately allowed in October 2013. The judge presiding over the annulment found that the man had never intended to make a life together with the woman, and sentenced him to pay her $2,500 in punitive damages for breach of trust.

No Longer Eligible to Remain in Canada

In March 2014, the ID found that the man had acted in bad faith towards the woman and had obtained his permanent resident visa by misrepresenting his true intentions.

The ID found, among other things, that:

  • the man had exaggerated his health condition since he “seems to be able to go out dancing two or three nights a week, returning in the early hours of the morning”;
  • the man had exhibited inappropriate behaviour towards other women, as supported by witness testimony;
  • the man engaged in behaviour he knew showed a lack of respect towards the woman, including going out dancing several times a week without her.

The panel noted that

…this behaviour is not consistent with that of a husband who is emotionally invested in sharing his life exclusively with his wife. Moreover, the couple have no future life plans, activities or interests. Once again, [the man] behaves as he wishes, without any consideration for his wife’s feelings. He behaves like a man with no marital responsibilities, in a way that is inconsistent with the behaviour of a spouse.

The ID concluded on the basis of this and other factors that the marriage was not genuine and was entered into primarily for the purpose of acquiring permanent resident status.

This finding meant that he was no longer eligible to remain in Canada.

The Initial Appeal

The man appealed to the Immigration Appeal Division (IAD), arguing, among other things, that he was living with a new girlfriend and had to stay in Canada on humanitarian and compassionate grounds to help her with her two children, whom she had shared custody of.

The IAD upheld the removal order, noting, among other things, that:

  • The man’s behaviour upon his arrival in Canada showed that he had no intention of making a life together with the woman;
  • The man “was constantly attempting to get more money from her, he belittled her, courted other women and quickly wanted to leave her”;
  • The man’s credibility was an issue- his version of the facts kept changing, and his behaviour did not match his words;
  • The man had made serious misrepresentations, without which he could not have obtained permanent resident status;
  • The man expressed no remorse for what he had done;
  • After six years in Canada the man was not very established. He lived with a new partner, does not have a stable job, and “contributes little financially”;

The IAD also found that there were insufficient humanitarian and compassionate considerations to warrant any special relief:

  • The man did not demonstrate that he would suffer diplomatic dislocation if he returned to Cuba;
  • The man likewise did not demonstrate any threat to his safety if he were to return to Cuba;
  • His current state of health did not require any special care;
  • He does not have a job lined up in Cuba, but neither does he have stable employment in Canada;
  • The man would be able to communicate with his new partner and her children through the internet if he returned to Cuba.

The IAD upheld the removal order.

The man applied to Federal Court for judicial review of the IAD’s decision. The Court denied his request for judicial review, which meant that the IAD’s decision will not be further reviewed and the removal order stands.

If you have questions about this case, or about family law in general, contact Gelman & Associates. Our lawyers guide our clients through Ontario’s family law system with compassion and understanding, while still aggressively protecting their rights. Although other firms may see you as a case, we get to know you as a person. We focus not just on your legal needs, but on you as an individual. Our lawyers strive to make our clients feel comfortable and empowered to make informed decisions. We will work tirelessly to deliver the best results possible, bringing you closure and satisfaction. Call us at (416) 736-0200 or 1-844-736-0200 or contact us online for an initial consultation.