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Sponsor your Spouse, Partner, Parent or Grandparent

Posted on 27 Jan'14 Tags: , , in Canada and US Immigration

Under the Family Class citizens or permanent residents of Canada may be eligible to sponsor certain relatives for permanent residence in Canada. In November 2011 Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) had stopped accepting applications for sponsoring parents and grandparents. Although applications for other eligible relatives were being accepted, CIC has now lifted the moratorium on sponsorship of parents and grandparents.

Sponsorship for Parents and Grandparents opens on January 2, 2014

CIC will start accepting new applications for sponsorship of parents and grandparents on January 2, 2014.The new application forms for sponsoring parents and grandparents will be available on December 31, 2013. The applications must be completed using the new forms.

Canadian citizens and permanent residents would be able to sponsor their parents and grandparents for permanent residence in Canada under the Family Class under the new qualifying criteria. CIC would only accept the first 5,000 complete applications. Applications will be considered in the order they are received and incomplete applications will be returned to the applicants.

For this program CIC would not be accepting hand delivered applications. The application fee cannot be paid online.

CIC has introduced the following changes to the program to achieve its goal of cutting the backlog and wait times in half:

  • Financial responsibility: To ensure that sponsors have the means to support their parents or grandparents the minimum necessary income (MNI) of the sponsor must be 30 per cent more than the MNI level.
  • MNI level for three years: It must be demonstrated that the required level of income was maintained for three consecutive taxation years preceding the date of application.
  • Sponsorship undertaking: The sponsors must undertake that in the event of their parents or grandparents receiving any social assistance from the province within a period of 20 years of becoming permanent residents, the amount would be repaid to the government.

CIC had proposed to reduce the age of dependents to 19 years, but it has been announced that the proposal would not be coming into force and the dependents under 22 years of age can continue to be included in the application to accompany the principal applicant.

In 2012 and 2013 by admitting 50,000 parents and grandparents as permanent residents CIC would be achieving the highest level of parents and grandparents admitted in 20 years. Under the new plan CIC hopes to continue processing the applications under the PGP at a high level for faster reunification of family members in Canada.

Application processing for parents and grandparents is a two-step process. Step one is currently being completed in about 42 months and step two varies from 12 months to 65 months depending on which visa office is processing the application.

Super Visa Program

Another option for Canadian citizens and permanent residents to invite their parents and grandparents to Canada is the Super Visa program. This program was made permanent allowing parents and grandparents to apply for 10-year multiple-entry visa to visit Canada. Under the Super Visa program visa holders can remain in Canada for two years. Under certain circumstances visa holders may apply for extension of their visa from within Canada.

In addition to the visitor visa requirements, the applicants must:

  • Provide evidence showing that their child or grandchild meets the minimum income requirements
  • Provide written commitment from their child or grandchild that financial support will be provided to them
  • Have Canadian medical insurance coverage for at least one year
  • Complete an immigration medical exam

Sponsor your spouse or partner for permanent residence in Canada

A Canadian citizen or permanent resident may be eligible to sponsor his or her spouse, common-law partner or conjugal partner to immigrate to Canada. These family members may be living in or outside of Canada. If they are in Canada they do not need to be in legal status to be sponsored under this class, but they must undergo medical, criminal and background checks before being granted the permanent resident status.

The sponsor’s spouse could be of the opposite or same sex. The marriage must be legally recognized in the country in which it took place, as well as in Canada.

To sponsor your spouse or partner a permanent resident must be residing in Canada. Canadian citizens living outside Canada may sponsor their spouses or partners but must provide evidence that once the person being sponsored becomes a permanent resident they will live in Canada.

The sponsor is also required to support the sponsored person financially and should be able to meet certain income guidelines. For sponsoring a spouse or partner a three-year undertaking of support is required to be given to the government. The sponsored persons are also required to agree to try to support themselves.

Under certain circumstances such as failure to meet previous sponsorship agreements, convictions for certain crimes, declaration of bankruptcy etc. may make you ineligible to sponsor your spouse or partner.

In recent years CIC implemented the following regulatory amendments to address the issue of marriage fraud:

  • Five-year sponsorship bar – People who were sponsored to come to Canada on or after March 2, 2012 cannot sponsor someone until they have been permanent residents of Canada for five years. If you were sponsored before March 2, 2012, the five-year sponsorship bar would not apply to you even if you became a permanent resident after March 2, 2012.
  • Two-year conditional permanent residence – The conditional permanent residence measure for spouses and partners has also been introduced for applications received after October 25, 2012. The condition would apply to spouses or partners who are in relationship with their sponsor for two years or less and have no children in common with their sponsor at the time of the sponsorship application. Subject to certain exceptions the condition requires that spouses or partners cohabit in a conjugal relationship for a period of two years after the day on which the sponsored person becomes a permanent resident. If CIC officers have reasons to believe that the condition has not been complied the case can be investigated.

The applications for sponsoring spouses or partners are submitted to the CIC office in Mississauga, Ontario. The application is processed in two-step process.

Step one processing for the sponsored person living in Canada is completed in approximately 11 months and step two is completed in about 8 months.

If the person being sponsored is in Canada and the application is submitted for in-Canada processing the sponsored spouse or partner may be eligible to for a work permit at the time of the step one approval.

If the person to be sponsored lives outside of Canada the processing time for step one is 28 days and the step two varies from 8 months to 32 months, depending on which visa office is processing the application.

If the application is refused by the visa office in the country of the sponsored person’s country of residence, the sponsor has the right to appeal the refusal to the Immigration Appeal Division.

This article is for general information only and should not be relied upon as legal advice. Canadian immigration laws change frequently; please contact us to discuss your matter.

Disclaimer: The above article is not a legal opinion as every case is different and is only for general awareness. Please contact us for specific questions and legal advise.