Start Of 2024 Sees Canada Spousal Sponsorship Immigration Slow

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Start Of 2024 Sees Canada Spousal Sponsorship Immigration Slow
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The latest data from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) reveals Canada’s spousal sponsorship program was down almost a third in January this year compared to the level of new permanent residents admitted under the program during the comparable month last year.

In January, the spousal sponsorship program helped 6,975 spouses and common-law partners become new permanent residents.

That’s down 30.8 per cent over the 10,080 new permanent residents who immigrated to Canada under the program during the first month of last year.

The immigration program’s performance was, however, 15.7 per cent better in January this year than it was the previous month as 2023 drew to a close.

In December last year, only 6,030 new permanent residents came to Canada under the spousal sponsorship program.


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Despite the slower start to the spousal sponsorship program this year compared to the first month of last year, the program could welcome 83,700 spouses and common-law partners this year if the monthly level of immigration in January this year were to hold up for the rest of 2024.

That would be 11.2 per cent more than the 75,250 new permanent residents who came to Canada under the spousal sponsorship program last year.

Canada’s most populous province, Ontario, once again saw the greatest number of arrivals under the spousal sponsorship program in January with 4,140 spouses making it their home last year. That was an increase of 41.1 per cent in the number of new permanent residents under that program in January compared to the previous month.

The other provinces and territories attracted the following number of new permanent residents under the spousal sponsorship program during January:

  • Newfoundland and Labrador – 15
  • Prince Edward Island – 20
  • Nova Scotia – 85
  • New Brunswick – 65
  • Quebec – 275
  • Manitoba – 200
  • Saskatchewan – 105
  • Alberta – 920
  • British Columbia – 1,125
  • Yukon – 10
  • Northwest Territories – 15
  • Nunavut – 0

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 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.

EI Payments Considered Income For Sponsor Of Spouse

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.


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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 12 months, a considerable improvement over the 20-month processing time in 2022.

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.
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Colin Singer
Colin Singer is an international acclaimed Canadian immigration lawyer and founder of immigration.ca 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.