Family sponsorship: immigration to Canada of relatives.
Family class of immigrants. Family class (family sponsorship)
Under the Canadian law, any Canadian resident, national or permanent resident, who is at least 18 years old, can provide sponsorship for their close relatives to obtain an immigrant visa to Canada. A mandatory requirement is that the sponsor must reside in Canada. As an exception, a Canadian citizen (only citizen, not permanent resident) living outside of Canada can sponsor a spouse/marital partner or a dependent child provided that the sponsor and the family return to live permanently in Canada after the sponsored relative is granted an immigrant visa.
Changes in Canada’s immigration system since 2012 have affected the conditions of family sponsorship. The most recent changes in June 2015 affected the recognition of marriages that were concluded without the presence of both or one of the parties, meaning by proxy, telephone or internet. For marriages that were entered into in this way, sponsorship has been revoked. The only exception is for members of the Canadian Armed Forces.
Immigration to Canada through marriage
An important factor in determining whether a Canadian family sponsorship is likely is not so much the legality of the marriage in the country where it takes place, but rather the recognition of the union in Canada. For example, arranged marriages or polygamy do not fall under the definition of family sponsorship.
A spouse may be sponsored only if both husband and wife are at least 18 years old and of legal age at the time of the sponsorship application. The same conditions apply to partners who are in a non-marital relationship.
These requirements are designed to provide maximum protection against forced marriages and the introduction of uncivilized practices to Canada, which are predominantly harmful to the rights and freedom of women.
The nuances of marital sponsorship in Canada
Another significant amendment was passed to the immigration legislation as of October 2012 regarding conditional NPL status for the sponsored spouse. It was enacted to both enhance the protections afforded to Canadians whose good feelings are often abused in order to seek permanent residency in Canada, and to prevent the use of marital sponsorship for sham marriages in Canada.
The essence of the amendment is that if the spouses have been married for less than 2 years and there are no children, the sponsored spouse will only be granted permanent residency in Canada for a period of 2 years, during which time the married couple must live together.
If the spouses separate, even for a temporary period (except for short business trips), the sponsored spouse’s permanent residency status will be immediately revoked, and the person will be required to leave the country. But there may be exceptions in the case of evidence of neglect, physical, psychological, material abuse, and bullying.
In addition, under the same June 2015 amendment, if there is a further divorce after 2 years, the sponsored spouse loses the right to sponsor their other half when they remarry within the next 5 years.
Limitations on family sponsorship in Canada
People with permanent resident status who are not Canadian citizens and currently reside outside of Canada cannot sponsor their spouses. Therefore, they can only begin processing their spousal sponsorship for immigration through marriage while they are within Canada.
Restrictions on who cannot sponsor their foreign partner:
The sponsor’s imprisonment
Receiving financial support from the government (a welfarist)
Attempted past offenses
Failing to pay alimony on obligations from his or her previous marriage
Failure to pay subsidies received from the state
So, before you marry someone who is not a Canadian citizen or Canadian resident, decide how you will support yourself and your sponsored partner in Canada.