While the marriage moved quickly at its start, the federal immigration board has ruled that's not enough to block a Kelowna man from sponsoring his new wife for permanent residency in Canada.
According to a Citizen and Immigration appeal decision issued in December 2021 but published this week, the Kelowna man — who Castanet is not naming for his privacy — met his bride-to-be on DomincanCupid.com in June 2018.
The now-57-year old man went to work abroad in the Dominican Republic in the 1980s and has maintained a connection with the country since.
About two months after first messaging a 28-year-old Dominican single mother online, he flew to the country. The couple got engaged on the first day they met in person. Less than a year later, in May 2019, the Kelowna resident flew back to the Caribbean with his mother and youngest daughter for the wedding.
In August 2019, the Kelowna man applied to sponsor his new wife and her 11-year-old daughter for permanent residency in Canada. After waiting two years for an interview, the visa officer rejected the application on the grounds the marriage was not genuine and was primarily for immigration purposes.
But after appeal, Immigration and Refugee Board member Craig Constantino noted that despite the quick engagement, the couple’s relationship has so far stood the test of time.
“Becoming engaged on the first day they met does not reflect a sober, well-considered decision to spend their lives together. However, it was another eight months before they married,” Constantino said in his decision.
“I understand why a rapid development of relationships through websites raises issues for visa officers but it has now become quite commonplace… While such quick attractions and connections may be dubious, it is only reasonable that doubts about the genuineness of a relationship developed online should be resolved through the passage of time and the maintenance and deepening of feelings."
Constantino noted that both families of the couple support the marriage, and after 2.5 years of wedlock in different countries, “there is no evidence that suggests that their commitment to their relationship has diminished.”
While there were some inconsistencies between the couple’s interviews with immigration officers, Constantino found that they could be “reasonable expected in a genuine marriage,” particularly with a language barrier.
Constantino overturned the visa officer’s rejection and allowed the Kelowna man and his new wife to continue with the immigration process.