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.
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.