Government of Canada has made many changes over this past year to fasten and simplify the spousal sponsorship process for Canadians and permanent residents.
This past Valentine’s Day, our Honourable Canada’s Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, Ahmed Hussen stated that 80% of spousal sponsorship backlog has been cleared, as promised in December 2016.
He mentioned that a year ago there were about 75,000 individuals waiting for a decision in their spousal sponsorship application. However, as of December 31, 2017 that number has decreased to 15,000 people.
Furthermore a new update has been made in regards of the sponsorship guide and checklist. Now the applicants are required to submit their Schedule A – Background/Declaration (IMM 5669) form and police certificates as part of the initial paper application package. It is believed that this change will assist in processing the applications efficiently.
Prior to December 2016 the typical processing time for sponsorship applications was about 26 months, but in the year of 2017 this has been reduced to 12 months. Family reunification is now considered as an immigration priority and IRCC is looking forward to welcome 66,000 spouses and dependants in 2018.
Canadian Citizens and Permanent Residents may sponsor their Spouses, Common-Law Partners and Conjugal Partners, to join them in Canada. This applies equally to same-sex relationships, as it does heterosexual ones.
Here’s what you need to know:
- Sponsor: a Canadian citizen or permanent resident who is 18 years of age or older. He/she is responsible for the financial support of the family member being sponsored.
- Common Law Partner: defines as someone with whom a sponsor has cohabited in a conjugal relationship for at least one year.
- Conjugal Partner: recognized under Canadian law; this is more subjective and requires a greater degree of proof. It’s a committed relationship that is at least one-year old, and is long-distance. The partner has resided outside of Canada, due to an impediment to marriage or residency together.
- Spouses: a partner with whom the sponsor is legally married to.
- Undertaking: the sponsor must promise to give financial support to the basic needs of the member being sponsored, so that he or she will not require social assistance. It is the sponsor’s responsibility to support the applicant for the length of the undertaking period even if the situation changes. The length is 3 years from the day the spouse, common-law or conjugal partner becomes a permanent resident.
In addition to being a Canadian citizen or permanent resident of at least 18 years of age, a sponsor must NOT:
- Be in receipt of social assistance (other than for a disability).
- Be bankrupt.
- Be in prison, convicted of a violent or sexual crime, or subject to a removal order.
- Have previously sponsored a spouse or partner within the last 3 years.
- Have previously been sponsored themselves as a spouse or partner within the last 5 years.
- Have failed to pay an immigration loan, or a performance bond or family support payments.
- Have failed to undertake a previously sponsored relative who received social assistance.
- Overseas applicants may be able to come and go as a visitorto Canada freely while the application is in process.
- In-Canada applicants are entitled to apply for an open work permit while their application is in process, but are required to remain in Canada during this period.
- In the event the application fails, overseas applicants have appeal rightsthat those applying from Inside Canada do not.
Are you eligible to sponsor?
How to apply? From inside or outside of Canada?
Spousal sponsorship offers two ways: Overseas Sponsorship or In-Canada Sponsorship.
If your spouse or partner lives outside of Canada, you would apply from outside the country. If your spouse or partner is already living in Canada, the choice of which type of application to make is yours.
In this situation both the Overseas and the In-Canada option have benefits and drawbacks which should be considered in detail.
Contact us today to discuss your eligibility for spousal sponsorship. You may fill out the free immigration evaluation form online and our staff will happily get in contact with you.