Conditional Permanent Residence will put women at risk of abuse

Canadian Council for Refugees
Media release

For immediate release
26 October 2012

Conditional Permanent Residence will put women at risk of abuse

The Canadian Council for Refugees is dismayed that the federal government has implemented a period of “conditional permanent residence” for some sponsored spouses and partners.

“Making permanent residence conditional for sponsored spouses gives power to the sponsor who may use the threat of deportation to manipulate their spouse. In situations of domestic abuse or violence, this measure will be a gift to an abuser”, said CCR president Loly Rico.

Under the new rules, if an affected spouse leaves their sponsor within two years of arrival in Canada, he or she could be stripped of permanent resident status and deported.

More than 80 organizations from across Canada have opposed the introduction of conditional permanent residence, because of how it will trap some sponsored spouses, mostly women and possibly children, in abusive situations.

The CCR is also concerned that women with language barriers, who are isolated, and who lack access to information will be placed at further risk, despite the proposal’s exceptions for spouses in situations of abuse or violence.

The CCR also questions whether the measure will be effective to deter people using spousal sponsorship to obtain immigration status, since they may just remain in the relationship for the required two years.


Colleen French, Communication Coordinator, Canadian Council for Refugees, tel. (514) 277-7223 ext. 1, 514-476-3971 (cell), email:

Janet Dench, Executive Director, Canadian Council for Refugees,  tel. (514) 277-7223 ext. 2, email:

Background information

For the joint Statement on Proposed “Conditional Permanent Residence” for sponsored spouses:

For more information: