Does Elderly Aunt’s Immigration win Re-define Canadian “Family” for Sponsorship?
After five years of rejections from Citizenship and Immigration Canada, an 83-year-old British Columbia resident named Surjit Bhandal will be allowed to stay in Canada on humanitarian and compassionate grounds.
Bhandal is originally from India, where she has no family. Her sister-in-law is disabled, and Bhandal has raised her two nephews since birth.
Canada allows individuals who are Canadian citizens or permanent residents to sponsor their family members to come to Canada as permanent residents themselves. However, there are very strict rules regarding who can be sponsored, and aunts are not on the list of relatives that are considered close enough to be sponsored to come to Canada.
Aunts typically not allowed to be sponsored to come to Canada
Her nephews call her Mother. The case caught the attention of an NDP MP who rallied behind her, and 5,000 letters and e-mails were sent to the government about the case.
The MP, Randall Garrison, was quoted in the Times Colonist as saying, “We don’t actually need a change to the law or or the regulations. We just need an understanding of diverse families and this is a precedent. My only regret is that it took the Conservatives so long to come to the right conclusion.”
Unfortunately, there have been many people in similar family situations who haven’t been successful in their bid to re-unite in Canada. It’s great when the immigration system is able to look at a case based on the people involved and their story, but this is a rare occurrence.
Do you want to sponsor a family member to come to Canada?
We can help you! Canada’s family reunification program allows Canadian citizens and permanent residents to sponsor their spouses and family members for permanent residency. If this is something you’re interested in, give us a call for an assessment of your case.
About Michael Niren
Michael is a graduate of Osgoode Hall Law School in Toronto. He is a member of the Law Society of Upper Canada, the Canadian Bar Association’s Citizenship and Immigration Section and the Associate Member of the American Bar Association. Read more
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