08 Mar 2022
Through its extensive immigration programs, Canada allows its new residents to sponsor permanent residency of their family members. Unlike many other countries, the Canadian government extends these programs beyond spousal or parent-child sponsorship.
That said, it’s not that easy to support the immigration of family members, nor is it inexpensive. This article discusses how much it costs to sponsor a family member in Canada and what other requirements you need to fulfill in order to reunite with your loved ones.
Who Can Become an Eligible Sponsor
To qualify for the official Canadian Family Sponsorship program, the sponsor must be a citizen or permanent resident of the country. This usually means that you must reside in Canada, though they are some exceptions.
For example, when applying, a sponsor can live temporarily outside the country but after the family member becomes a permanent resident, the sponsor must return to Canada. To sponsor, you also must be at least 18 years old.
Who Can’t Sponsor a Family Member
If you are currently in prison, have committed a crime, or are subject to a removal order, you won’t be able to sponsor a family member in Canada. Similarly, those who have debt from immigration loans, child support, or have recently filed bankruptcy aren’t allowed to sponsor either.
If you receive financial assistance from the government (disability excluded) or were also sponsored to become a permanent resident less than five years ago, you will not qualify. Nor will you be eligible to sponsor if you sponsored a family member less than three years ago, whether they were granted permanent residency or not.
Who Can Qualify for Sponsorship
The person you are looking to sponsor must live outside Canada (or have only a temporary residency) and be related to you in one of the following ways.
The children of the sponsor, or children of their spouse, or common-law partner, can qualify for sponsorship if they are under the age of 22 and unmarried. Children with mental or physical disabilities who rely on their parents or sponsor for financial support can become dependents even if they are over 22 years old.
If your dependent child meets the requirement but has a child on their own, you will have to sponsor them as well. Plus, you will need to fall into the low-income cut-off. If your dependent child is in the sole custody of the other parent, they can still qualify for sponsorship, but your application must include permission from a custodial parent.
Parent or Grandparent
Adult citizens or permanent residents of Canada can also sponsor their parents or grandparent’s residency if both parties qualify and the sponsor meets the minimum income requirements to support their relative.
Spouse, Common-law, or Conjugal Partner
To qualify for sponsorship, they must fall under one of these categories:
Spouse: The marriage must be legal both under Canadian law and your country of origin.
Conjugal partner: At least a year of relationship for couples not living together due to immigration, marital status, religion, or any other valid reasons
Common-law partner: At least 12 years of uninterrupted relationship for couples living under the same roof.
Same-sex relationships: For immigration purposes, these relationships are valid under the previous categories.
Sibling, Niece, Nephew, or Grandchild
This category includes unmarried adult siblings or nieces, nephews, and grandchildren under 18. If the person you want to sponsor is underaged, their parent has to be deceased, and you must have a court-ordered legal guardianship over them. The same rules apply for sponsoring a dependent child.
Unless you are sponsoring a spouse or dependent children, you will need to show that you can meet the minimum necessary income (MNI) to support your entire family. To determine this, you must subtract all debts, welfare, social or employee training assistance, and compensation payments from your total family income.
To grant sponsorship, the Canadian government requires the payment of the following fees:
- $75 Sponsorship fee for all categories
- $75 Processing fee for all categories
- $490 Right of permanent residence fee (isn’t required for dependent children or orphaned relatives under the age of 18.
You will also sign a Sponsorship Agreement, obligating you to financially support your sponsored relatives if they cant provide for their own needs. The new permanent resident will not qualify for government assistance, even after the sponsored person becomes a permanent resident, separates from you, or leaves the country.
The duration of the Sponsorship Agreement depends on your relation to the sponsored individual. For example, you will only have a financial obligation for three years for your spouse, conjugal or common-law partner.
For a dependent child, this period lasts until the child becomes 22 years old or for ten years. If the child is over 22 years old, this period is reduced to three years. To sponsor a parent or grandparent, you must obligate yourself for 20 years of financial support.
Other Requirements and Options
Along with their applications, the sponsor family member must submit the results of medical tests. For applicants from Africa, Europe, and the Middle East, this also means providing biometric identification keys.
In addition, each adult applicant must submit police certificates from their country of origin or any country they have lived in for more than six months.
Apart from the federal requirement, certain provinces have their own requirements for their own family sponsorship programs. For example, Quebec has detailed instructions on obtaining their special agreement to sponsor a family member.
If your family member does qualify for the Family Class Sponsorship, there are other avenues you can try to help them immigrate to Canada. If they possess skills or experience in a field with significant job vacancies, they can apply for Express Entry. Adopted children can’t qualify for the Family Sponsorship program, but they may be eligible for other programs granted by individual provinces.
As you can see, the Canadian government offers the possibility of reunification through several family lines. To make this possible, the sponsor must reside in Canada, meet the minimum income requirement, and several other conditions of the sponsorship program.
The sponsored individual also must pass several checkpoints, which will determine whether they qualify for the official Family Sponsorship Program. If not, there are still other venues to turn to, such as the Express Entry system, which allows immigration for those adept in a specific skill.