Canada immigration news: If the trend of the first five months of 2022 continues, Canada’s family sponsorship programs are on track to welcome their highest-ever number of new permanent residents.
The latest data from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) reveals 41,625 new permanent residents to Canada had arrived under family sponsorship programs by the end of May this year.
That trend, if projected out to the rest of the year, would see 99,900 new permanent residents to Canada under family sponsorships this year, up 9.4 per cent over the previous record of 91,300 new permanent residents set in 2019.
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During the last full year before the COVID-19 pandemic, Canada welcomed 91,300 new permanent residents under these family sponsorship programs.
These popular programs had seen steadily-increasing numbers before the pandemic.
After helping 65,485 foreign nationals get their permanent residence in 2015, Canada’s family sponsorship programs only became more popular the following year. In 2016, they allowed an additional 12,520 new permanent residents, or 19.1 per cent more, for a total of 78,005 to gain their permanent residency.
The following year, the programs’ popularity grew another 5.7 per cent to hit 82,465 new permanent residents in 2017.
In 2018, the rate of growth in the use of family sponsorship programs slowed. By the end of the year, Canada had welcomed 85,165 new permanent residents through these programs, an increase of only about 3.3 per cent over the previous year.
But things picked up again in 2019 with a surge of 7.2 per cent, or an additional 6,135 new permanent residents.
Then, the pandemic hit.
Family Sponsorships Fell By Almost 46% In 2020, Rebounded Last Year
As Ottawa closed off the border temporarily and public health restrictions went into effect to slow the spread of the coronavirus and give healthcare authorities a chance to deal with the surge in cases of COVID-19, immigration slowed to a trickle.
In 2020, immigration to Canada tumbled by almost 45.9 per cent, from 341,175 to 184,585 new permanent residents.
Lock in step with that drop in immigration, the number of people arriving to the country under family sponsorship programs also fell by almost 46 per cent, to 49,310 new permanent residents in 2020.
Last year was a rebuilding year for Canadian immigration.
Through the use of the one-time Temporary-to-Permanent Resident (TR-PR) program designed to accept up to 90,000 applications from temporary residents seeking permanent residency, Ottawa managed to boost immigration and welcome 406,005 new permanent residents in 2021.
Family sponsorship applications also skyrocketed, rising 65.1 per cent to hit 81,420 for the year, and paved the way for record-high numbers this year.
Under family sponsorship 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.
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).
Sponsored Spouses Can Work In Canada Under Family Sponsorship Programs
Spouses and common-law partners who come to Canada under the sponsorship programs are allowed to work under the Spousal Work Permit Pilot Program.
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.