Family sponsorship is perhaps the most common immigrant pathway used as the next step for first generation Canadian Filipinos to reunite with family.
To be eligible as a sponsor to a family member, a Canadian citizen or permanent resident must be at least 18 years old, not receiving social assistance for reasons other than a disability and can provide for the basic needs of any persons who will be sponsored.
Family members qualified to be principal applicants (the person/s a Canadian citizen or permanent resident would like to bring over to Canada) are spouse, partner, (common-law or conjugal), dependent children, adopted children and, on specific conditions, relatives.
A sponsor and their spouse must prove that they are legally married and are both at least 18 years old. A sponsor and their common-law or conjugal partner must prove that they have been living together for at least a year or, if not, prove that the barriers to living together are due to significant legal and immigration reasons.
Dependent children, on the other hand, must be single and below age 22 years. Children over 22 years old could be sponsored only if they are unable to support themselves because of a mental or physical condition and have depended on their parents since turning 22.
The process of sponsoring an adopted child from outside Canada is very similar to that of dependent children in terms of age requirements but differs in that a large part of the process relies heavily on the laws and adoption processes in the child’s home country. For Canadian immigration purposes, however, all intercountry adoptions must be legal in both the child’s home country and the sponsor’s Canadian territory or province. The child must end their relationship with their biological parents. Both sponsor and child must prove a genuine parent-child relationship and the application must be made in the best interest of the child and not just primarily to gain permanent resident status for the child.
Generally, there is not an income requirement to sponsor a spouse, partner or dependent children except if the dependent child has a child or children of their own or if the spouse or partner to be sponsored has a dependent child who has a dependent child or children of their own.
A relative such as a brother, sister, nephew, niece or grandchild could also be sponsored provided they are related to the sponsor by blood or legal adoption, both parents have passed away, are under 18 years of age and are single.
Relatives who may not meet the above criteria may still apply for permanent resident status. Also known as the “Lonely Canadian Program,” this allows a person who is a Canadian Citizen or a permanent resident to sponsor an adult son or daughter, brother, sister, uncle, aunt, niece, or nephew to immigrate to Canada. The applicant must be related to the sponsor by blood.
The Lonely Canadian Program sponsor must show that he or she does not have a spouse, common-law partner, child, parent or grandparent or child who is either a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident,
or who is a foreigner that can be sponsored. The program is designed to help Canadian citizens or permanent residents who do not have relations in Canada and cannot sponsor immediate family.
The sponsor for a relative must meet several criteria such as meeting the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada’s (IRCC) income guidelines and agree in writing to provide financial support to the relative for up to 20 years; the length of financial support will depend on the applicant’s age and the relationship between the sponsor and applicant. The applicant in this category will sign an agreement promising to make every effort to support themselves in Canada.
IRCC, based on information on their website, randomly selects and invites potential sponsors to apply to sponsor their parents and grandparents. As of this date, the IRCC has closed applications for 2021. However, parents and grandparents may be able to apply for a super visa, which is a multiple-entry, temporary resident visa allowing them to stay in Canada for up to seven consecutive years. For the super visa application to be considered, the sponsor must meet the ministry’s minimum income requirements.
Not all Canadian citizens and permanent residents are qualified to become a sponsor. Being bound by an existing undertaking agreement with a previous person, existing financial obligations (child support, immigration loan, etc.) or bankruptcy may prevent one from sponsoring a family member.
Aside from application fees, principal applicants must submit medical and police certificates and biometrics.
Complete disclosure of every relationship between the sponsor and the principal applicants including any relevant relationships with either should be declared in the concurrent applications by the sponsor and the principal applicant.
(Part 4: A tale of two immigrant stories - scheduled for the next CFNet edition on August 16)