Spousal Sponsorship

Spousal Sponsorship
Elena Azzi

Let me introduce myself first. I am Elena Azzi, a licensed immigration specialist. During several years of my practice, I have had the opportunity to successfully handle various immigration files: from a simple visitor visa, study and work permits, and applications for permanent residence under economic class to much more complex applications under humanitarian and compassionate considerations. However, my favorites have always been the spousal sponsorship files.

There is a good chance that when a person immigrates alone to Canada, they will eventually try to start a family. From my observation, I see that many immigrants have a tendency to try to start a family with someone who speaks the same language. Canada is a multicultural country and not all immigrants are from countries where English or French are their mother tongues.
It is quite understandable why immigrants from Slavic countries, for example, start looking for their future life partners outside Canada in their country of origin. As a result, clients came to me to help with their spousal sponsorship applications. To be honest, the majority of those cases were rather complicated with specific issues to address.

The following facts can easily add to the complexity of a spousal sponsorship application: previous marriages, dependent children from previous marriages, common-law relationships, Canadian citizens living abroad, a sponsor in default of his alimony or child support obligations, people receiving social assistance, criminality background, etc.

It is possible to sponsor a spouse who is overseas (outland application) or a spouse who is already in Canada (inland application).

The process of a spousal sponsorship application consists of two major parts: determination of sponsor’s eligibility and determination of a sponsored person’s admissibility. For sponsors residing in Quebec, there is an additional step that includes an application to the Ministry of Immigration, Francisation and Integration (MIFI) in order for a sponsored person to obtain a Quebec Selection Certificate (CSQ).

Even though, to sponsor a spouse, a dependent child or a spouse with a dependent child does not require financial evaluation and therefore, there is no low-income-cut-off requirement (LICO). Here is a partial list of sponsor’s eligibility criteria:

🗞 sponsor must be at least 18 years old;
🗞 sponsor must have a permanent resident status in Canada or be a Canadian citizen;
🗞 sponsor must be residing in Canada, especially if they are not not yet Canadian citizens;
🗞 sponsor cannot be on social assistance unless an exemption applies;
🗞 if a sponsor already has an active sponsorship application made within the last 3 years, they are temporarily inadmissible to sponsor another spouse (it applies to people who remarried within the last 3 years from the date of their previous undertaking);
🗞 if the previous person you sponsored received social assistance during the time of your undertaking period, you must first manage your government debt before applying for a new sponsorship;
🗞 if a sponsor failed to pay an immigration loan, alimony or child support, they must first deal with their debts before submitting a sponsorship application.

Once the eligibility of a sponsor is approved, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) will proceed to Stage Two to determine if the sponsored person is admissible for a permanent residence application under the Family Class (outland application) or under Spouse or Common-Law Partner in Canada Class (inland application). It will include medical and background checks and it can even include an interview with an officer before rendering a final decision.

Immigration information is available free of charge on the Government of Canada website. However, the application process can sometimes be more complicated than it might appear at first glance.

My advice to you: be very detail-oriented and meticulous. Even in the most straightforward cases, do not neglect to carefully read the Guide and to follow all government instructions. A “small” omission can lead to the file being returned because of its incompleteness or even being refused.

Another important advice is to truthfully declare all the information asked in the forms. Do not try to hide or, even worse, lie on your immigration application. Consequences for misrepresentation are very serious.

Elena Azzi , Immigration Adviser (RCIC #530817; MIFI # 11771), president of Canada First Way Immigration Inc./Canada Première Voie Immigration Inc.

If you need more information, please do not hesitate to contact Elena by email: firstway_immig@outlook.com or through the website immigrationcfw.ca.