Disgraced immigration judge Steve Ellis has been sentenced to 18 months in jail for proposing sex to a young South Korean claimant in exchange for Canadian citizenship.

The judge in the case ruled Ellis' bipolar disorder was a mitigating factor but nevertheless, Ellis was aware that what he was doing was wrong.

Ellis breached the trust placed in him and his actions undermined the Canadian immigration system, the court heard.

Ellis' lawyers had been arguing for a home arrest sentence.

Ellis, 51, was found guilty on breach of trust and bribery charges in April.

In 2006, he adjudicated a refugee hearing for Ji Hye Kim, who was 25 years old at the time.

The court heard that Ellis visited Kim twice at the restaurant where she worked. Ellis made comments to Kim that she interpreted as sexual propositions.

The next time she met Ellis, her boyfriend secretly videotaped the encounter, which was given to CTV News.

In the tape, Ellis tells Kim at a coffee shop he was in a loveless marriage and needed a girlfriend for "things on the side."

In exchange, he said he would see what he could do on Kim's refugee claim.

"I'm going to work on it," Ellis said on the video. "I really want to be friends with you."

Kim was seeking asylum in Canada because of a physically abusive father in South Korea, when the exchange with Ellis took place.

Speaking to reporters Thursday, Kim said it's been a "long, long four years" since the incident.  

Ellis was appointed to his position at the Immigration and Refugee Board 10 years ago. He was suspended once charges were laid in the case.