Canada’s immigration system is one of the most progressive in the world. It elevates the need for family reunification as a means of providing permanent residency status to family members of previous successful immigrants.
Unlike most other countries which prevent family members to reunite, the Department of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) are determined to keep family units together by allowing spouses, common-law partners, and immediate family members to join a Canadian citizen, person registered in Canada as an Indian under the Canadian Indian Act or a person who is a permanent resident of Canada.
To proceed further you may require child passport renewal.
What are the basic requirements to be a Sponsor?
The first requirement for one to be a sponsor is to first be 18 years or older and a Canadian citizen. One can be a Canadian citizen but also have a family who is not Canadian citizens as the relationship could be borne within the confines of a marriage or a common-law partnership.
One can also just be a permanent resident in Canada and sponsor a family member so long as they can prove that they can provide for the family member(s) seeking sponsorship. The other requirements are:
- The sponsor must not be bankrupt
- The sponsor should not be incarcerated or have a criminal record
- If the sponsor is a permanent resident they shouldn’t be under a removal order.
Who is Eligible for Family sponsorship?
The definition of family can range from extended to nuclear, whereby nuclear is composed of parents and children, and extended family members are uncles, aunts, and grandparents. The Canadian immigration policy on family sponsorship takes into account that extended family members such as grandparents can form a focal aspect of one’s family and therefore are part of the sponsorship program.
In essence, the following family is considered:
- Spouses and common-law partners
- Children who are still dependent on their parents.
This list is not exhaustive and one may immediately wonder where siblings may be included as part of dependants.
This gives rise to certain exceptions that consider brothers and sisters, uncles, nephews, and nieces. However, this exception only works where there are no other family members to sponsor, and in the case of wards or guardians, there is a valid adoption of the dependant.
What does the Family Sponsorship Process Entail?
Unlike the other processes to get a Canadian residency status, the family sponsorship class is usually the least problematic for new registers. This is because there is already a permanent resident or a Citizen with a proven track record ready to act as guarantor and sponsor.
The first step involves an application from the prospective applicant to the IRCC for a Permanent Residency. Once the IRCC receives the application, they will issue the applicant an Acknowledgment of Receipt (AoR) which serves as a confirmation that your application is being considered by the IRCC.
Processing takes about 12 months by which time the IRCC will have conducted due diligence and investigations into the sponsor’s capacity to take care of the applicant. Though most applications take more than 12 months, you can ensure this process is easy and won’t exceed the 12 months by hiring the services of an immigration lawyer or immigration consultant based in Canada.
How Much Does the Sponsorship process cost?
The costs for sponsorship vary depending on who you intend to sponsor. There is a standard fee for the Right of Permanent Residency which is $ 515. Therefore if you intend to sponsor your spouse, you’ll need to pay the Right of Permanent Residency fee of $515, a Sponsorship fee of $75, and a principal applicant processing fee of, $490, all of which total up to CAN $1080. However, if you don’t intend on getting a permanent residency status for the person you intend to sponsor then, your total costs will be minus the $515.
Sponsoring a dependent child will set you back $75 for the mandatory sponsorship fee and an extra $75 for the all-inclusive processing fee. For every child you add, the charges will include an extra $150.
All applicants pay a biometrics fee of $85. However, for a family of 2 or more members, the maximum fee for biometrics will be $170.
How to Tell Whether Your Relationship Fits Within the Marriage Or Common Law Relationship Bracket
For applicants willing to do the entire application process on their own, some issues might require a bit more elucidation. For example, for most people living outside the Commonwealth, the issue of marriage versus common-law sponsorship arises.
There is a high likelihood that a Canadian citizen sponsoring a partner will likely face the question of whether their union is a legally binding marriage or a common-law partnership. A common law relationship is viewed as marriage only if the couple has lived together for a year or more in a marriage-like partnership.
Canadian immigration policy also allows for conjugal relationships, which arise when a couple is unable to marry but live with each other under a common-law relationship. The reasons for this distinction are largely legal and depend on the individual’s country of origin. To sponsor a conjugal partner, you must have been in a relationship lasting at least a year and your reasons for not getting married should be valid and beyond your control.
A quarter of immigrants to Canada fall under the family sponsorship class and this figure is likely to rise given the high number of immigrants that Canada needs. In a bid to accelerate economic recovery, Canada intends to welcome over 400,000 immigrants and you can expect at least 100,000 to come through the family sponsorship avenue.
Overall, this is a good step since this would support the government’s objective of supporting strong family unions in immigrant communities. Through an open policy, Canada is paving the way for other countries to enact more humane immigration policies, making it easier and faster for immigrants to access basic needs.
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