The latest data from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) reveals spousal sponsorship arrivals bounced back in May, rising by 44.3 per cent, after dropping for three consecutive months.
After starting the year off strong with 10,070 wives, husbands and common-law partners immigrating to Canada under the spousal sponsorship program, the monthly number of these new arrivals fell to 8,280 in February, then 6,975 in March, and dropped again to a paltry 4,990 in April.
That’s a drop of 5,080 new permanent residents per month, or 50.4 per cent, under the spousal sponsorship program during those three months.
The downward slide, though, came to a halt in May with 7,200 new permanent residents settling in Canada under the spousal sponsorship program, a gain of 2,210 new arrivals compared to the previous month.
With that resurgence in spousal sponsorships in May, the program finished the first five months of this year with about 30.1 per cent more spouses becoming permanent residents, 37,515, than the 28,845 during the comparable period last year.
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Canada’s most populous province, Ontario, saw the greatest number of arrivals under the spousal sponsorship program with 13,950 spouses making it their home in the first five months of this year.
The other provinces and territories attracted the following number of new permanent residents under the spousal sponsorship program during that period:
- Newfoundland and Labrador – 75
- Prince Edward Island – 60
- Nova Scotia – 430
- New Brunswick – 245
- Quebec – 4,270
- Manitoba – 1,030
- Saskatchewan – 640
- Alberta – 4,845
- British Columbia – 6,715
- Yukon – 45
- Northwest Territories – 30
- Nunavut – 5
Immigration Levels Plan Has A Target Of 78,000 Newcomers Under Spousal Sponsorships This Year
Based on the level of immigration through spousal sponsorships in the first five months of this year, Canada could expect to welcome 90,036 spouses and common-law partners through this immigration program this year. That level of spousal sponsorships would be 40.4 per cent, or 25,911 new permanent residents, higher than the comparable figure of 64,125 of these immigrants for all of last year.
In its Immigration Levels Plan 2023 – 2025, Ottawa has already set an upper limit of 84,000 new permanent residents under programs to sponsor spouses, partners and children. The target for this year for that category of immigrants is 78,000 new permanent residents.
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,
- food, clothing, shelter and their needs for everyday living, and;
- dental care, eye care and other health needs 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.
Spousal Sponsorship Processing Times Are Down To 14 Months
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 and planning to live outside of Quebec is now down to 14 months, a considerable improvement over the 20-month processing time last year.
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.