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Married by video chat? Come to Canada!

posted Aug 18, 2012, 1:50 PM by Milorad Borota   [ updated Aug 18, 2012, 1:51 PM ]
BY TOM GODFREY ,TORONTO SUN
FIRST POSTED: FRIDAY, AUGUST 03, 2012 08:09 AM EDT | UPDATED: FRIDAY, AUGUST 03, 2012 08:14 AM EDT

TORONTO - Marriages conducted by telephone or webcam that unite Muslim women in Canada with husbands abroad make up a significant number of the immigration sponsorship cases in Pakistan, says a top official.

“Approximately 40% of the caseload involves proxy marriages, some of which were conducted over the phone via internet or webcam,” said Pat O’Brien, an immigration program manager at the High Commission of Canada in Islamabad.

The embassy’s territory includes Pakistan and Afghanistan, two of the most dangerous countries in the world, according to an Environmental Overview Template Islamabad report compiled by O’Brien for Ottawa. It was obtained under an Access of Information request by lawyer Richard Kurland.

The template said many applicants seeking visas for Canada take part in arranged marriages. In many cases, the brides are in Canada while their husbands reside in Pakistan or Afghanistan.

The men are sponsored to Canada by their wives. The cases “involve arranged marriages amongst Muslims, the vast majority of which take place between first cousins,” O’Brien told Ottawa in March 2012.

She said most of the couples getting hitched have never met. They are married by an imam on the phone or webcam with the couples being in different countries.

“Approximately 50% of the caseload involves marriages where the sponsor and applicant first meet at the time of marriage, shortly beforehand, or possibly for the first time since childhood,” O’Brien said.

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