Polygamous immigrants can only bring first wife, officials warn

Jason Kenney

Credits: REUTERS/Blair Gable


OTTAWA — Canadian immigration officials are letting polygamous men into the country as long as they arrive with only their first wife and promise not to obtain a harem afterward, QMI Agency has learned.

"Under Canadian law, all other marriages after the first are illegal," said immigration officials in documents obtained by immigration lawyer Richard Kurland. "For this reason, the first spouse only may enter Canada on a permanent basis, which creates a monogamous marriage."

If a polygamous immigrant wants to sponsor a wife other than his first, "he must divorce his other wives and remarry the chosen wife in a form of marriage that is valid in Canada" officials said last November after meeting with the office of then-immigration minister Jason Kenney.

That meeting came shortly after QMI Agency reported that Canadian consular officials in Saudi Arabia were warning that Saudi tycoons often "hide their polygamous marriages" in immigration applications.

A spokeswoman for Kenney said the minister was aware of the problem and that law-breakers would be kicked out of Canada.

Kurland says the rules likely aren't effective.

"You can immigrate with one (wife) by divorcing the others -- divorce the one in Canada, marry the second one, bring her in (and) repeat the loop, as long as you sign a paper promising that you are not living in a polygamous relationship in Canada," he said. "There is no enforcement, control, or monitoring."

The latest documents indicate that Canada Border Services Agency has not had any polygamy cases referred to it.

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