Canada immigration news: The number of people immigrating to Canada through spousal sponsorships is projected to hit a record high this year, on target to see an 8.2 per cent increase over 2021.
Data from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) reveals 34,870 new permanent residents to Canada in the first half of this year arrived through spousal sponsorships. Based on that trend, that could mean 69,740 new permanent residents through these programs in 2022.
That’s 4,965 more immigrants, or almost 7.7 per cent more, than the 64,775 who came through these programs in 2019, the previous record-breaking year.
It’s also 5,305 new permanent residents higher than the 64,435 immigrants who came to Canada under these programs last year.
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Spousal sponsorship programs have been growing in popularity for those hoping to rejoin their loved ones in Canada since 2015 prior to the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The number of new permanent residents to Canada under spousal sponsorship programs grew by an impressive 22.7 per cent from 46,350 in 2015 to 56,885 the following year.
Then, in 2017, overall immigration to Canada faltered somewhat, dropping a tad more than 3.3 per cent from 296,370 to 286,540 new permanent residents.
Despite that drop in overall immigration, though, spousal sponsorship programs kept chugging along and the number of immigrants to Canada under those programs actually nudged up 2.2 per cent in 2017 to hit 58,135 new permanent residents.
The following year, in 2018, overall immigration took off again and spousal sponsorships soared 8.2 per cent to 62,885 new permanent residents.
In 2019, overall immigration grew to a respectable 341,175 new permanent residents to the country and spousal sponsorships again rose by three per cent to hit 64,775.
COVID-19 Led To A Temporary Drop In Spousal Sponsorships In 2020
Then, the pandemic hit. Canada, like many other countries, closed its borders to all but essential travel and public health restrictions made international travel much more difficult.
Immigration plummeted by 45.9 per cent to only 184,585 new permanent residents in 2020 – and the number of spousal sponsorships fell in step with that, dropping 44.2 per cent to 36,120 new permanent residents that year.
With more and more Canadians vaccinated against COVID-19, the border eventually re-opened and public health restrictions were eased last year. Ottawa also put in place many measures to boost immigration.
In 2021, immigration to Canada roared back to life and 406,025 foreign nationals became new permanent residents of Canada.
The number of spousal sponsorships also picked up in 2020, coming to 340 new permanent residents of the pre-pandemic level in 2019.
The rate of growth of spousal sponsorships to Canada in the eight years that will conclude at the end of 2022 has not been as great as the overall rate of growth in immigration during that period.
But that’s only because spousal sponsorships tend to lag a bit behind overall immigration trends.
Spousal Sponsorships Growing In Step With Overall Immigration With Lag Of One Year
Annual immigration to Canada has grown by 70.4 per cent during those eight years, based on a projection of 2022 number of new permanent residents using the trend in the first six months of this year.
During that same period, spousal sponsorships have grown by 50.5 per cent.
When the growth of these sponsorship programs is compared to overall annual growth of immigration with a lag of one year, the rates of growth match up almost perfectly.
Immigration growth overall from 2015 through to 2021 came in at 49.3 per cent.
When a Canadian citizen or permanent resident chooses to sponsor a spouse or common-law partner to immigrate to Canada, the sponsor must sign an undertaking, promising to give financial support for the sponsored person’s basic needs, including:
- food, clothing, shelter and other needs for everyday living, and;
- dental care, eye care and other health need not covered by public health services.
This agreement cannot be cancelled, even if:
- the person sponsored becomes a Canadian citizen;
- the couple divorces, separates or the relationship breaks down;
- either the sponsor or the sponsored spouse or common-law partner moves to another province or country, or;
- the sponsor experiences financial problems.
IRCC Provides Up-To-Date Estimates Of Processing Times
Maternity, parental and sickness benefits paid under the Employment Insurance Act in Canada are all considered income and contribute to allowing a person to sponsor a spouse or common-law partner but other payments from the government, such as employment insurance and federal training allowances, are not considered income.
On its website, IRCC provides estimates of the current processing times for various types of applications, including spousal sponsorships.
According to that website, the current processing time for sponsorship applications for spouses or common-law partners currently outside the country is 24 months.
That estimated processing time includes:
- the time needed to provide biometrics;
- the assessment of the sponsor and the person being sponsored, and;
- the time immigration officials need to ensure the sponsor and his or her spouse or common-law partner meet the eligibility requirements.
Twitter users often claim the processing time for their applications has been much longer, up to four years.