Canada Family Sponsorship Immigration From the Philippines: All You Need To Know

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Data from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada reveals the Philippines is one of the top three most important sources of new Canadian permanent residents who come through family sponsorship programs.

In 2019, the last full year before the COVID-19 pandemic hit Canada, 8,875 Filipinos became new permanent residents of Canada under these programs. 

That’s more than the 1,860 that became new permanent residents of Canada through family sponsorship from Mexico, the 1,955 from Iran, 2,145 from the United Kingdom and 2,285 from Vietnam combined. 

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Those four countries are the bottom four of the top 10 list of most important sources of new permanent residents to Canada through family sponsorship programs.

Border restrictions and bans on all but essential international travel hampered the arrival of immigrants to Canada last year and continue to do so this year.

But the Philippines still retained the third-place spot on the list of top sources of new permanent residents to Canada through family sponsorship programs in 2020.

The number of Filipinos who came to Canada under family sponsorship programs in 2020 was only 4,165, less than half the number who made the move in 2019.

Top 10 Sources of New Permanent Residents to Canada Through Family Sponsorship Programs 2020

India is the top source of new permanent residents to Canada through family sponsorship programs, with 17,660 arriving in 2019 and another 7,223 in 2020. 

But the Philippines remain far ahead of most other countries as a source of new permanent residents to Canada through these programs.

That country provided more than three times as many new permanent residents to Canada through family sponsorship programs in 2019 as did Pakistan, which provided 2,655, and almost four times as many as the 2,370 from Jamaica. 

In 2019, the Philippines provided more than 9.7 per cent of the 91,310 new permanent residents who came to Canada through family sponsorship programs.

Filipinos Getting Permanent Residence In Canada Through Family Sponsorship Programs

In the five years from 2015 through to last year, the Philippines have been of increasing importance for new Canadian residents through family sponsorship programs. 

In 2015, 5,930 Filipinos came to Canada to become new permanent residents under these programs. In 2016, that number nudged up a bit to 5,995 but then jumped 24 per cent the following year to hit 7,435 in 2017. The following year, the number dipped as 30 fewer Filipinos made that move. 

Then, in 2019, the number of Filipinos using those programs to get their permanent residence in Canada shot up again, by 19.8 per cent, to hit 8,875.

With COVID-19 vaccines and therapies holding the promise of an end to the global pandemic, immigration is expected to pick up again this year and family sponsorships, one of the fastest and most popular ways to gain permanent residence in Canada, are expected to boom.

That will provide opportunities for many Filipinos to immigrate to Canada and gain permanent residence through family sponsorship programs.

Under these programs, a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident of Canada, aged 18 or more can sponsor certain family members to become Canadian permanent residents. 

With that permanent residence, those family members are able to live, study and work in Canada. 

Sponsors Are Financially Responsible For Relatives

The sponsor assumes all financial responsible for their relative once he or she arrives in Canada. 

To be a sponsor, the Canadian citizen or permanent resident must:

  • sign a sponsorship agreement with the relative to be sponsored that commits the sponsor to provide financial support for the relative, if necessary. This agreement also says the person becoming a permanent resident will make every effort to support him or herself;
  • provide financial support for a spouse, common-law or conjugal partner for three years from the date they become a permanent resident, and;
  • provide financial support for a dependent child for 10 years, or until the child turns 25, whichever comes first.

Relatives who can be sponsored include:

  • spouse – (restrictions apply)
  • common-law partner – (restrictions apply)
  • conjugal partner – (restrictions apply)
  • dependent children
  • parents – (Additional conditions apply)
  • grandparents – (Additional conditions apply)
  • brothers or sisters, nephews or nieces, granddaughters or grandsons who are orphaned, under 18 years of age and not married or in a common-law relationship
  • another relative of any age or relationship but only under specific conditions
  • accompanying relatives of the above (for example, spouse, partner and dependent children).

Spouses and common-law partners who come to Canada under the sponsorship programs are allowed to work under the Spousal Work Permit Pilot Program.

Spouses Can Work Under Sponsorship Programs

The program is designed to allow spouses and partners to work while their immigration applications are being finalized.

Eligible candidates must be in Canada and in the process of being sponsored for permanent residence under the spouse or common-law partner class. Candidates must also have valid temporary status as a visitor, student or worker.

Under the sponsorship programs, sponsors ink a contract with Canada’s immigration authorities to repay the government for any social assistance payments made to the sponsored person. Sponsors remain obligated to the undertaking agreement for the entire period of the contract, even in a change of circumstances such as marital breakdown, separation, divorce, or a financial change in circumstances.

In the case of a spouse, common-law partner or conjugal partner, a sponsor is required to sign an undertaking to reimburse the federal or provincial governments from the date in which they become a permanent resident for the period of three years.

In the case of a child under the age of 19 years, of the sponsor or the spouse, common-law partner, or conjugal partner, the obligation starts on the day that the child becomes a permanent resident of Canada for a period of 10 years or until the child reaches the age of 25 years.

In the case of a dependent child over the age of 19 years, the obligation starts on the day that the dependent child becomes a permanent resident, for a period of three years.

In the case of parents and grandparents, the sponsorship obligation extends for a period of 20 years from the date in which the member of the family class becomes a permanent resident. For all other family members, the obligation is of a duration of 10 years. 

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Colin Singer is an international acclaimed Canadian immigration lawyer and founder of featured on Wikipedia. Colin Singer is also founding director of the Canadian Citizenship & Immigration Resource Center (CCIRC) Inc. He served as an Associate Editor of ‘Immigration Law Reporter’, the pre-eminent immigration law publication in Canada. He previously served as an executive member of the Canadian Bar Association’s Quebec and National Immigration Law Sections and is currently a member of the Canadian Chapter of the American Immigration Lawyers Association. Colin has twice appeared as an expert witness before Canada’s House of Commons Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration. He is frequently recognized as a recommended authority at national conferences sponsored by government and non-government organizations on matters affecting Canada’s immigration and human resource industries. Since 2009, Colin has been a Governor of the Quebec Bar Foundation a non-profit organization committed to the advancement of the profession, and became a lifetime member in 2018.