Family reunification remains one of the pillars of the Canadian immigration system. Achieving this goal is largely accomplished through the Family Class Sponsorship program. In order to be eligible under Family Class Sponsorship, the individual being sponsored for a permanent resident visa must be a member of the family class as defined by the Canadian government.
An eligible sponsor can sponsor the following individuals:
- the sponsor’s spouse, common-law partner, or conjugal partner
- a dependent child of the sponsor
- the sponsor’s mother or father
- the sponsor’s grandmother or grandfather
- the sponsor’s brother, sister, nephew, niece, or grandchild whose parents are deceased, under 18 years of age, and not married or in a common-law relationship
In order to be eligible, a sponsor must be a Canadian Citizen or Canadian Permanent Resident and over the age of 18. In addition, a sponsor cannot be subject to a removal order, detained in prison, or in default of any previous sponsorship undertaking or payment obligation ordered by the court. Finally, a sponsor cannot have declared bankruptcy or be in receipt of social assistance, other than for reason of disability. In regards to criminal convictions, a sponsor will not be eligible if they have been convicted of any offence of a sexual nature or of an offence resulting in the bodily harm of a family member.
For the majority of cases the sponsor must reside in Canada to make a sponsorship application. However a Canadian citizen is able to sponsor their spouse, common-law partner, conjugal partner, or dependent child while living abroad if the sponsor will live in Canada when the sponsored individual becomes a Canadian Permanent Resident.