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REASONS FOR DECISION

[1] These are my reasons and decision in the appeal of Appellant who appeals the refusal to approve the permanent resident visa application of his wife(Applicant) who applied to immigrate to Canada as a member of the family class.

[2] This couple married in Russia and the Appellant subsequently filed an application to sponsor his wife for immigration to Canada. The Applicant was interviewed by a visa officer in Moscow. It was following that interview that the visa officer refused her application to immigrate to Canada pursuant to section 4 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations (the "Regulations ") on the grounds that the visa officer concluded the marriage was not genuine and had been entered into by the Applicant primarily for the purpose of acquiring any status or privilege under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (the "Act").

[3] Section 4(1) of the Regulations provides as follows:

4.(1) Bad Faith - For the purposes of these Regulations, a foreign national shall not be considered a spouse, a common-law partner or a conjugal partner of a person if the marriage, common-law partnership or conjugal partnership

(a) was entered into primarily for the purpose of acquiring any status or privilege under the Act; or,

(b) is not genuine.

[4] In order for a foreign national to be caught by subsection 4(1) of the Regulations, the preponderance of reliable evidence must demonstrate that the marriage is not genuine or was entered into primarily for the purpose of acquiring a status or privilege under the Act. The onus is on an Appellant to demonstrate that the Applicant is not caught by the excluding provisions of the Regulations.

[5] The visa officer wrote a lengthy and detailed letter outlining the reasons for the refusal, which I will briefly state. The first concern was that the marriage was prepared in haste after the Appellant arrived in Russia and immediately proposed to the Applicant. The Applicant informed the visa officer that together with her mother, she had made preparations for the wedding prior to meeting the Appellant in person and prior to the proposal. They were married and the Appellant returned to Canada shortly afterward and at the time of the interview, the Appellant had not returned to Russia to visit the Applicant. Another concern was that the Applicant had been involved with several foreign men prior to this relationship. The Applicant stated that the difference with this relationship was that the Appellant was the only man who kept his promise to marry her. Therefore, the Applicant changed her plans for his sake. The visa officer was concerned that their backgrounds are very different in many aspects, yet they married each other after having spoken through the Internet for only three and a half months. The visa officer was concerned that the marriage did not appear to be serious or genuine on the part of the Applicant. The Applicant was asked to bring proof of communication with her to the interview. She brought 461 pages of Internet text, which also included messages to third parties describing the Applicant's relationship to the Appellant. After reviewing the documents, the visa officer had even greater concerns that the marriage was not genuine on the part of the Applicant. The messages outlined the apparent reason why she decided to marry the Applicant and furthermore, indicated that the Applicant was seeing other men after her marriage. The visa officer refused the application believing that the marriage was entered into primarily for the purpose of immigration. The Appellant contends that the decision of the visa officer was incorrect, that his marriage is genuine, was not entered into primarily for the purpose of immigration, and he asked me to allow his appeal. The Respondent maintained that the marriage is not genuine, was entered into primarily to gain status or privilege under the Act and asked that the appeal be dismissed.

[6] In reaching my decision, I considered the Record prepared by the Respondent, the materials tendered by the Appellant, the testimony of the Appellant and the submissions of counsel for both the Appellant and Respondent. The Applicant did not testify at hearing.

[7] By way of background, the Appellant is 31 years old, born in Hong Kong of Vietnamese descent. He immigrated to Canada as an infant and had not been previously married. The Applicant is 21 years old, born and living in Russia. This is the Applicant's first marriage. They met on the Internet on June, 2010 and continued chatting through the Internet and by telephone. The Appellant went to Russia on August 01, 2010, proposed to the Applicant within days of his arrival, the Applicant accepted and they were married in Russia on August 05, 2010. The Appellant returned to Canada on August 08, 2010. The Appellant returned to Russia to visit the Applicant for two weeks during the November of 2010.

[8] The Appellant testified at hearing. He testified in a straightforward, spontaneous manner and I found him to be credible. Although the marriage was arranged in haste after a short, virtual relationship through the Internet, I have little doubt that the Appellant is sincere in his quest for a genuine marital relationship with the Applicant. The Applicant did not testify. The visa officer's concerns were primarily focused on the Applicant's attitude towards the marriage and her purpose in marrying the Appellant. It was not just her attitude that she expressed at the interview and in the communication documents she presented to the officer, but also in her deeds leading up to the marriage that demonstrated that she was not serious about a long-term relationship with the Appellant and that she was primarily interested in immigration. For example, the Applicant told the visa officer that she and her mother had made preparations for the wedding prior to the proposal. Only the Applicant can answer to these concerns, but she refused to testify. The Appellant testified that he had made last-minute plans to return to Moscow just prior to hearing, at the behest of his lawyer. The Russian visa was not issued in time before the Appellant's departure from Canada and therefore, he had to cancel the trip, contrary to the promise he made to his wife that he was going to visit her. The Appellant testified that the Applicant was so angry with him that she refused to testify at the hearing, even though she was aware that a negative outcome could result. Her apparent indifference merely heightens the initial concerns of the visa officer. Although the Appellant emotionally pleaded that I consider the appeal in a positive light, the contrast between the Appellant and Applicant's approach towards this appeal makes me believe the Appellant has been plainly deceived by the Applicant. The Appellant testified that the Applicant felt belittled by the visa officer and this experience may have discouraged her from testifying at hearing. The Computer Assisted Immigration Processing System (CAIPS) notes indicate that questions were asked and the Applicant may have thought them to be difficult questions, but there was no indication that the interaction between the Applicant and visa officer crossed any inappropriate boundaries. Even with encouragement from the Appellant, the Applicant has made a conscious choice not to testify to concerns that were raised; this makes me question how serious she is about reuniting with the Appellant. If the Applicant is unwilling to testify, this reinforces the concern that the marriage is not genuine.

[9] In terms of compatibility, the Appellant and Applicant come from different backgrounds. The Appellant was raised in Canada by Vietnamese parents. He attended college and works as a warehouse/accounting assistant full-time and a grocery clerk part-time in the evenings. The Applicant is Russian, raised by her mother. Although ten years younger than the Appellant, she has one degree in linguistics and is currently working towards a second degree. The application indicates that the Appellant is Buddhist and the Applicant is Orthodox Christian. Because they have different family customs, they planned to hold two celebrations, one for each family. The Appellant testified that he saved the family home from bank seizure due to his father's gambling debt. He works two jobs and is responsible for his family's welfare, an indication that he is dependable and mature. On the other hand, the Applicant is fairly well travelled and appears to be relatively well off in Russia. Her emails sound childish, judgmental, and she openly discusses her past endeavours with the opposite sex as if she picks and discards boyfriends, similarly to how others choose objects in a convenience store. This may be an unfair characterization of the Applicant, but without the opportunity to hear her testimony, the only other evidence comes from the Appellant, which may be tainted by his willful blindness. The Applicant replied to the refusal letter, "We made a mistake attaching our correspondence to the immigration paperwork completely, not sorting out some of the emails. We didn't expect all the emails to be read through and that the immigration officer would have looked for all kinds of negative details, looked through our personal life so deeply and even judge us." Nevertheless, a comparison of the Appellant and Applicant leaves the reader to question their compatibility and on the surface, they do not appear to be compatible. Their testimony was an opportunity to overcome this obstacle.

[ 10] The Appellant testified that after reading the disclosure prepared by the Respondent, he understood why the visa application was refused. He contends that much of the evidence is not properly understood. In the same vein, the Appellant has had reservations about this relationship; he is either in denial or has genuinely overcome those reservations. When the Applicant was asked about their sexual relations with each other, the Applicant told the visa officer and the Appellant at hearing confirmed this, that the Appellant insisted that they would not be intimate until they were married. The Appellant explained that he insisted on doing this to

prove to the Applicant and her mother that his intentions were serious. Within a genuine relationship, why would proof be necessary? The Appellant testified that the Applicant provided him access to her blog and translator to prove her faithfulness because the Appellant might be worried that she was being unfaithful. The Appellant admitted that he did have doubts about her faithfulness. If there were doubts about each other's intentions or faithfulness, then why would the Appellant and Applicant rush into this marriage? This was not adequately answered at hearing. After three months of Internet exchanges, the Appellant researched how to get married in Russia. He testified that after he flew to Russia they didn't marry right away. "We spent two or three days together".. .before finalizing their decision to marry. In my estimation, deciding to marry after spending only two or three days together is right away. Although the Appellant was asked at hearing why they rushed to marry, the question was not adequately answered. He explained that it felt right, that they were in love, and that he only had two weeks of vacation before having to return to Canada for work. This explains why they considered getting married, but it does not explain the rush to do so. The Applicant had been involved with other men, whom she had lived with in foreign countries. These relationships did not work out after a greater period of time than just a few days. The Appellant testified that his family had wanted him to marry someone of Vietnamese descent. The Appellant lives with his brothers and mother and is responsible for their welfare. They plan to continue living in this arrangement for a period of time when the Applicant immigrates to Canada. The Appellant's family speaks Vietnamese in their household, a language that the Applicant is not fluent. It is inconsistent that either one of them would rush into this marriage without knowing each other better and knowing that the Applicant would comfortably fit into the Appellant's life in Canada. The Appellant testified that once they were married, the Applicant could not obtain a travel visa for Canada. Why was the option to visit Canada not researched prior to their marriage? Clearly, the Applicant had reservations about the marriage, but instead of spending time to gain a sense of security with each other, he chose to put blinders on and marry one week after his arrival in Russia. It is difficult to understand why this couple made a lifetime commitment after sharing only a few months of conversation together. The Applicant stated that she changed her plans and married the Appellant because he was the only man who lived up to his promise to marry her. The Appellant states the reason for the hurriedness, ".. .why not rather than waste time and money later on." These are hardly reasons to choose a lifetime partner. The sense of urgency speaks directly to the purpose of the marriage.

[11] The Appellant described future plans in the disclosure package. While I accept that he has plans for the Applicant, it is difficult to assess if she shares those plans without hearing her testimony.

[12] When all of the evidence is taken into consideration, the Appellant has failed to adequately address the concerns of the visa officer. The Applicant, is caught by the exclusionary provision as articulated in subsection 4(1) of the Regulations. The appeal is dismissed.

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