Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Saying 'I do' to Jump the Queue

It's really cold out today, and all I want to do is curl up with a good book and forget about my daily blog duty. But alas, I am unable to escape my computer's look of disapproval - yes, my computer mocks me... doesn't yours? Anyway, while I was checking to see if there was a new episode of the Rick Mercer Report, which is one of the few CBC programs I can watch abroad, I came across this article on marriages of convenience. Basically, if you haven't the time to read the whole thing, Immigration Canada is seeing more and more marriages of convenience (where someone marries a Canadian citizen to gain access to the country), and it's become a growing problem.

This really makes me mad! I think it's a horrible thing to convince someone you love them (often the Canadian spouse is duped) and then leave them as soon as you gain entry. And it's even more horrible when Canadians enter into 'business marriages' and receive money for marrying a foreigner looking to gain entry. There's a good chance that after my husband finishes his PhD, we'll go back to Canada, and he'll have to go through the immigration process - a process that has now become so complicated, he'll have to get a police background check from every country he's lived in for the last 10 years (which is a lot for nomads like us). If these people continue to cheat the system, it makes it harder on everyone, because the government refuses to single out target countries for a more in-depth immigration process. Nope, we all have to jump into the same bureaucratic merde, despite the fact that Michael grew up a stone's throw from the Canadian border.

Now before any of you accuse me of being unsympathetic to immigrants, I want to say that I welcome any family-class immigrant who comes to Canada legally and without intent to cheat the system. I really am one of those Canadians who thinks Canada should become even more multicultural. But I firmly believe that anyone who comes to Canada on a family-class visa, and then subsequently dumps their spouse deserves to be deported. It's not the same as trying to claim refugee status and it shouldn't be treated as such.

I get especially mad on behalf of people who have worked so hard and waited so long to get their Canadian residency and citizenship. Many of these people are highly skilled migrants who are forced to work low-wage jobs while waiting for degrees to be accredited and for employers to value their international experience. Add to that the culture shock, unexpected maple syrup overdoses, and the horrible horrible winter, and it's not easy being an immigrant.

I know marriages break up, and some people fall out of love. Perhaps you've had many great years of marriage and things just didn't work in the end, but Canada is your home now. That's fine. I don't mind if you stay. But don't trick me into marrying you so you can jump the queue. Besides, I'm already married to a foreigner... and we're both quite happy as expats for now.

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