One of the pillars of Canadian immigration programs, policies, and legislation is Family Reunification. This pillar comprises different sponsorship programs that allow qualified sponsors to bring family members to Canada and live therein as permanent residents. It is an essential component of Canada’s overall immigration program.
Spousal sponsorship is a family immigration process wherein a Canadian citizen or permanent resident sponsors his or her foreign spouse, common-law partner or conjugal partner to come and live permanently in Canada.
As to who can be subjected to this kind of sponsorship, the scope is no longer confined to just the legal husband or the wife. One can receive a residence under this family immigration program as long as the sponsor and the foreign spouse or partner can prove the authenticity of their marriage or an existing common-law or conjugal relationship.
There are two (2) main options to choose from when it comes to Spousal Sponsorship, namely:
- Outland Spousal Sponsorship
A Canadian citizen or permanent resident (PR) can sponsor their spouse, conjugal partner or common-law partner living outside Canada through the Outland Spousal Sponsorship stream under the Family Class Sponsorship category.
This family sponsorship program makes reunification of the sponsor and their spouse or partner in Canada possible.
- Inland Spousal Sponsorship
Inland Spousal Sponsorship involves Canadian citizens or permanent residents currently living with their spouse, conjugal or common-law partner in Canada. This family sponsorship stream under the Family Class immigration category is the ideal option when the spouses are already together in Canada and the sponsored spouse has a temporary status either as a visitor, student, or worker therein or even is out of status.
There are no bans or rules against traveling abroad while an inland sponsorship application is pending approval. However, it is not advisable to do so.
Unlike in outland sponsorship, the sponsored spouse is eligible to apply for an open work permit. This permit will allow him or her to work in Canada while the application is pending approval.
Opposite and same-gender marriages are recognized for immigration purposes if they legally took place in Canada. In case the marriage happened outside of Canada, the marriage must both be legally recognized in the country where the ceremony took place and in Canada.
Dependent Child Sponsorship
Qualified dependent children may be the subject of a sponsorship program that grants them an opportunity to live with their parent(s) as permanent residents in Canada.
A dependent child can either pertain to a biological or adopted child who is below 22 years old, unmarried or not in a common-law relationship and remains so for the duration of the application process.
For children above 22 years of age to be considered “dependents”, it is required that they be substantially financially dependent on the support of their parents before the age of 22 and unable to support themselves for reasons of mental or physical conditions.
Parent and Grandparent Sponsorship
Parents and grandparents of Canadian citizens and permanent residents can be subjects of this family immigration sponsorship program, commonly known as the Parents and Grandparents Program (PGP). Once approved under PGP, one’s parents and grandparents can fully enjoy the benefits of being a Canadian permanent resident.
Potential sponsors are randomly selected from the sponsorship pool and invited by the Immigration Refugees Citizenship Canada (IRCC) to proceed with their application to sponsor either their parents, grandparents, or both. This is similar to a lottery process where the selection is randomized.
If one wishes to increase their chances of being invited to apply under PGP, they must ensure that all the eligibility criteria are met and that the Interest to Sponsor Form was accurately and completely filled out.