Spousal Sponsorship in Canada is a very important aspect of Canada’s Immigration nowadays. Family reunification is a very important immigration priority for Canada because it can attract young skilled workers only if there is a clear path for them to settle along with their spouse/partner, children, and dependent relatives. This is why Canada has clear and specific rules that allow citizens or permanent residents to sponsor their family members to become Canadian permanent residents as well. Read ahead for an overview of the family sponsorship process in Canada.
Who Can Sponsor?
- You must be a Canadian citizen or permanent resident.
- You must be 18 years or older.
- You are not receiving social assistance. The only exception to this is if you are disabled.
- You are financially capable of providing for the basic needs of the person you are sponsoring. This means you must meet or exceed the applicable Low Income Cut-Off requirements.
A citizen can sponsor a family member even if he/she is living abroad provided he/she intends to live with the sponsored person in Canada. A permanent resident can sponsor only if he/she is living in Canada.
The primary eligibility requirement is whether you have the financial resources to sponsor your family member. You will be ineligible to apply for family sponsorship if
- It’s less than three years since you sponsored a previous spouse or partner
- You have not repaid the social assistance that was received by someone you sponsored
- You have defaulted on an immigration loan or performance bond
- You have failed to pay court-ordered alimony or child support
- You are an undischarged bankrupt
- You have been convicted of violent crime, sexual crime, bodily harm offense against a relative, or threat or attempt to commit any of the above-mentioned offenses
- You were sponsored into Canada less than five years ago
- You are under a removal order or in jail.
Sponsoring your Spouse
You can sponsor your
- Spouse i.e. a person who is 18 years older and is legally married to you, or
- Common-law partner i.e. is one who is not legally married to you and is 18 years or older and cohabiting with you for 12 months or more, or
- Conjugal partner i.e. one who is not legally married and is 18 years or older, in a relationship with you for 12 months or more, and cannot marry or cohabit with you in your native country due to significant legal or immigration reasons.
- These reasons can include a bar on divorce or same-sex relationship in your country or if your partner is facing religious persecution.
Your partner’s gender is not relevant for sponsorship as Canada recognizes same-sex marriages.
Spousal Sponsorship Agreement
This is the most important of your sponsorship application. You formally agree and promise to financially take care of your partner whom you are sponsoring for a period of three years from the date of grant of permanent residence.
Your financial responsibility will continue even if
- You divorce your spouse after his/her entry into Canada
- Your spouse becomes a Canadian citizen
- Your financial condition worsens, or
- Your request to withdraw the sponsorship application was received after your spouse’s PR application was approved
The procedure of spousal sponsorship in Canada may seem pretty straightforward with the submission of the sponsorship application and application for permanent residence for your spouse. However, it is advisable to work with an immigration professional because the processing of sponsorship applications can take time and there can be many changes—good as well as bad—that can affect the process.