This is a unique category of the family class and was for exceptional circumstances. Canada has one of the most extensive immigration systems in the world and takes into account many different types of relationships.
Conjugal partners are those who would ordinarily apply as common-law partners but for the fact that they have not been able to live together continuously for one year. Again, this is only in extreme circumstances beyond the control of the sponsor and applicant.
In most cases, the applicant is also not able to marry their sponsor and qualify as a spouse. However, in all other aspects, the couple is similar to a common-law couple or a married couple. They have been in a bona fide conjugal relationship for a period of at least one year.
In the immigration context, there are some exceptional circumstances where a Canadian is in a conjugal relationship with a foreign national partner and would ordinarily sponsor that person as a common-law partner, but the two have not been able to live together continuously for one year, usually because immigration rules prevent them from long stays in one another's countries. As well, for these individuals, marriage is usually not an available option.
The conjugal partner category is mainly intended for partners where neither common-law partner status nor marriage is possible, usually because of marital status or sexual orientation combined with an immigration barrier. There are other situations that are applicable such as a person unable to marry their partner due to religious laws in their home country, or if the country is currently in a state of war and therefore it is unsafe for the sponsor to travel to be with his loved one.
For instances such as these, CIC takes such relationships into account. Again, it must be under extreme circumstances beyond the control of the applicant and sponsor. Being too busy at work or having a fear of flying are not suitable reasons. There must be a barrier that precludes you from otherwise maintaining a marriage or common law relationship.
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