Spousal sponsorship is a process that allows Canadian citizens and permanent residents to sponsor their foreign spouse or common-law partner to come and live in Canada as permanent residents. The following are the basic requirements for a spousal sponsorship application for Canadian immigration:
A few specific issues applicants for sponsorship may encounter during the process include:
Requirement 4 can be quite difficult in some situations. Examples of evidence include:
The Spousal sponsorship application process can be complex and time-consuming. Potential applicants should seek the advice of an immigration lawyer to ensure that all the requirements are met and the application is drafted and submitted correctly.
On April 19, 2023, many IRCC employees began a strike, as part of the Public Service Alliance of Canada's labour dispute with the Canadian government. This is having some effect on immigration applications, particularly those for permanent residents. New applications can still be submitted as usual, both online and by mail, but non-urgent applications will be delayed for the duration of the strike. Extensions of a stay in Canada can still be submitted, and maintained status remains as usual for those with applications still in processing. For more information, please see this link www.canada.ca/en/immigration-refugees-citizenship/labour-disruptions.html
New permanent residents of Canada sometimes did not include dependent children on their original application. Thankfully, permanent residents (and citizens) can sponsor a child and reunite their families through the child sponsorship path if they were excluded for whatever reason.
As with all sponsorships, the parent/guardian seeking to be sponsor must satisfy certain criteria. Among other factors, the sponsor must be at least 18 years old, currently live in Canada, not be receiving social assistance from public funds (with some exceptions), and undertake (i.e. binding promise) to provide for the financial, medical, and other assistance to the applicant for a prescribed period. This undertaking is unconditional, regardless of sudden changes in the sponsor’s martial status, finances, or other major change in life, so it is not to be taken lightly.
The definition of ‘dependent child’ for immigration purposes is either:
If the application is submitted before they turn 22, their age is ‘locked-in’, no matter how long it takes to process the application to make a decision. However, it is always better to begin working on the application sooner rather than later, in case gathering some documents is more difficult than others.
They must be either the biological children of the sponsor or sponsor’s spouse or adopted by the sponsor or their spouse to be sponsored. More distantly related children such as nieces and nephews cannot be sponsored unless in very specific situations, such as being orphans with no other relatives in the country of origin.
Much of the IRCC processing of these applications involves verifying the relationship between children and the sponsoring parent/guardian, to prevent fraud and trafficking.
Unless the sponsor is already the sole legal guardian of the children, another parent, or guardian will have to sign a permission form confirming that they can leave the country to live with the sponsor in Canada. If there are custody arrangements in Canada or the country of origin, those must be included in the application as well. The other parent/guardian must give permission, if they are not accompanying the child to Canada, and the sponsor must show that they have a relationship with the child or children. The burden of proof is on the sponsor to prove these facts to IRCC’s satisfaction. Proof of the relationship can include, but is not limited to, the birth certificate showing the name of the sponsor, or, if the child was adopted, an adoption certificate. Unlike common-law and spousal sponsorships, this is often much easier to obtain, since adult relationships made for the sake of immigration fraud logically involve much less effort than a child does.
An experienced representative, like Luka Vukelic, can greatly strengthen the chances of a positive decision on what can often be a complex application process.
As the most populous province, Ontario’s immigration nominee program (OINP) is one of the most used.
It accepts applications from those who the OINP determines fulfill its needs for work skills, experience, and education to improve its economy. The province partners with the federal government to nominate candidates, which assists them in their permanent residency application by increasing their points in the federal Express Entry system, virtually guaranteeing an Invitation to Apply for permanent residency. There are currently six nomination streams. Requirements can change over time, and streams can be opened or closed without warning by the province. This post will discuss each stream and their requirements.
Employer Job Offer: In-Demand Skills Stream
This is a stream for foreign workers both inside and outside Canada who have a job offer in Ontario and prior work experience in the province. It lets those with job offers in high demand occupations in Ontario apply for permanent residency. The work must be full-time and permanent, in a specific eligible occupation, at or above the median wage in the job market, and also be necessary for the employer’s business.
The full list of eligible occupations includes, for example, truck drivers, construction trades, and farm workers. The stream requires you have at least nine months full-time experience working in Ontario in that occupation. At least 30 hours of paid work per week in those nine months is required. The applicant must show their experience is in the National Occupation Classification (NOC) that is being sought, in terms of duties performed.
An applicant must also have a minimum of language skills at Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB 4), education of at least high school (or a foreign equivalent), and enough money to settle in Ontario, which can be shown either with the job offer and its compensation or through financial documents.
The employer must also follow regulations, including minimum yearly revenue, operating history and number of employees. These vary on whether the job is in the Greater Toronto Area or outside it.
PhD Graduate Stream
This stream is geared towards international students who obtained a PhD in Ontario in the previous two years. It must have been from an eligible university in Ontario, with at least two years of studies. Before applying, the graduate must have lived for at least one of the last two years in Ontario, and shown their intent to remain in the province, which they show through their ties to the province. These can include, for example: property ownership/lease, work (both current and past), family in the province, among others.
As with the job-offer stream, they must show there is enough money for them and any family to settle in Ontario.
Express Entry French-Speaking Skilled Worker Stream
This stream is for skilled works that are bilingual in Canada’s official languages, with CLB levels of 7 and 6 for French and English respectively.
In this stream, an applicant must first create an Express Entry profile with IRCC and be accepted into the Express Entry pool’s minimum. The two federal programs the applicant can meet are the FSWP (Federal Skilled Worker Program) and CEC (Canadian Experience Class).
The OINP will send a Notification of Interest if they find a candidate in this program in the pool of candidates and give a certain amount of time to apply. This must include, in addition to the proof of bilingual skills, education, and work experience requirements, an intention to live in Ontario, and the money to do so.
Human Capital Priorities Stream
This stream is an Express Entry pool-linked stream for skilled workers, with the same minimum requirements for work experience and education, but unlike French-language skills stream, the HCP seeks those with experience in specific positions. These vary depending on each draw the province makes, and the province lists them after each draw is completed, along with the Express Entry scores that foreign and Canadian work experience applicants had.
Skilled Trades Stream
This stream is another Express Entry-linked stream, but for the federal category of Skilled Trades. See the blog posts on Express Entry for more information.
The entrepreneur stream is for experienced business owners and managers who wish to start a new business or buy an existing one in Ontario. The applicant must file an Expression of Interest with the province which includes a business concept and information about their experience, net worth, and personal investments. After being scored by OINP, they may be issued an Invitation to Apply.
This blog details the many legal issues among Luka's practice areas, for a general audience. None of this information is a substitute for legal advice.