New Restrictions for Spousal Sponsorship Applications now in force
Below is a summary of the recent changes to Spousal Sponsorships for Canada introduced by Minister of Immigration Jason Kenney and the Conservative Government. Please note these sponsorship restrictions affect spousal sponsorships but do not affect any other type of sponsorship application. Further, these changes are aimed at sponsoring spouses who were themselves sponsored to come to Canada.
Section 130 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations (IRPR) describes the criteria an individual must meet in order to sponsor a foreign national making an application for PR as a member of the family class or the spouse or common law partner in Canada class.
Prior to the amendments that came into force on March 2, 2012 a sponsor did not have to fulfill strict residency requirements. They only needed to be a Permanent Resident or a Canadian Citizen in order to sponsor a new spouse.
The proposal for this amendment was first made in the Canada Gazette published on April 2, 2011. A second publication confirming the changes coming into effect on March 2, 2012 will be published in Part II of theCanadian Gazette.
Changes to Spousal Sponsorship Applications
According to the amendments that came into force March 2, 2012 an individual who became a PR after being sponsored as a spouse, common law or conjugal partner from sponsoring new spouse, common law or conjugal partner cannot sponsor a new spouse unless that individual:
- Has been a permanent resident for a period of at least five years immediately preceding the day on which a sponsorship application is filed by the sponsor; or
- Has become a Canadian citizen during the period of five years immediately preceding the day on which a sponsorship application is filed by the sponsor and, had been a permanent resident from at least the beginning of that period until the day on which the sponsor became a Canadian citizen.
NOTE: This applies only to spouses who were themselves sponsored as spouses and were granted PR in that respect.
Why these changes?
The objectives of the amendments are as follows:
- To strengthen the integrity of Canada’s immigration system by creating a deterrent to relationships of convenience; and
- To clarify portions of the existing subsection 130(2) of the IRPR with regards to sponsorship.
Further Proposals for Spousal Sponsorship Applications
It is important to note that the Conservative government is aiming to implement further amendments to impose more restrictions on spousal sponsorship applications. For example, the Minister of Immigration is seeking to introduce a specified period of conditional permanent residence for spouses and partners sponsored as members of the family class or spouse or common law partner in Canada class under subsection 13(1) of the IRPA.
This proposed measure would apply to spouses and partners who have been in a relationship with their sponsor for two years or less at the time of the sponsorship application. The period of conditional status under consideration could be two years, or longer, from the time that the sponsored spouse or partner becomes a PR in Canada.
There are certainly “marriage of convenience” cases where the couples in question are less than sincere. I have seen well meaning sponsors be duped into marriage and sponsorship only to find their new bride or groom take off as soon as they land in Canada. Are these kind of cases the exception or the rule? I would strongly submit the former. The vast majority of spousal sponsorship applications are well intended, sincere efforts to join together over large distances. Do some of these unions break up? Sure. Like couples from Canada, sponsorship couples are subject to the same challenges all of us are in terms of keeping it together.
So while there is abuse, is it really fair to penalize sponsors with their own immigration history from sponsoring a new spouse? Shouldn’t these cases be judged on a case by case basis rather subjecting them to harsh restrictions when in many cases, they are legitimate applications? Again, the government seems to take the most extreme measures to tackle a problem that could be resolved in a more measured fashion.
The content and comments of this blog are not legal advise and and may not be accurate or complete. If you require legal advice, contact a licensed legal practitioner directly. If you post on this blog, you assume full responsibility for disclosing your identity to the public and VisaPlace nor its affiliates are not responsible for protecting your privacy nor your identity concerning your participation in our blog and you assume any risks in participating.
I could not have asked for more! The VisaPlace team are extremely professional, they know their stuff. They gave me great information, prepared my work visa application and then prepared me for the submission process. I was successful. Got my visa. 5 stars! I would give them 6 if I could.
This is not an exaggeration!!! I was truly impressed with the way VisaPlace consultants handled my case. The consultants- Emily, Lauren, Takunda and Lisa, took their time to explain to me in great deal how they were going to approach my case and how they would handle setbacks, if any. Their professionalism and knowledge of the law were superb. The minor setback that came up was quickly addressed by the team. The team constantly kept me updated on the progress/status of my application; they quickly responded to my questions/concerns. They had predicated my permanent residency to be processed within 6 -12, and Indeed it was processed and completed within 6 months. Based on my personal experience, Emily and Lauren's team are the best! They deserve 5 stars!!!!!!!!!!!
VisaPlace helped me sponsor my husband to become a Permanent Resident of Canada. They were extremely professional. Every step along the way was explained fully and expertly taken care of. The staff responded immediately to any questions and always handled our concerns fully, taking as much time as we needed to understand where we were at in the immigration process and what to expect next. I would recommend VisaPlace with no hesitation at all. I'm sure if we had tried to navigate the immigration process ourselves, it would have been much harder.