The lack of an income should not prevent a Canadian citizen or permanent resident from sponsoring their foreign spouse, common law partner, or conjugal partner.
Many mistakenly delay the sponsorship process believing that they have to have a job or "sufficient" income.
The fact is that this delay, and consequent separation, is quite unnecessary since Canadian citizens and permanent residents do not have to have any income whatsoever in order to sponsor their life partners.
While it is true that, generally speaking, a Canadian sponsor must have a certain amount of income to sponsor a "member of the family class" there is an exception for spouses, common law partners and conjugal partners. This also applies where the foreign partner has dependent children provided that no such child has dependent children of their own.
While it can be argued that Canadian citizens and permanent residents should only be able to sponsor their parents or grandparents to Canada if they can demonstrate sufficient income to support their foreign relatives, most would agree that Canadians should not be precluded from reuniting with their life partner just because they have insufficient income.
Our immigration regulations are consistent with this view.
Notwithstanding this progressive attitude, a Canadian citizen or permanent is nonetheless ineligible to sponsor their partner to Canada if the sponsor,
Is an undischarged bankrupt;
Is in receipt of social assistance for a reason other than a disability ("social assistance" is defined very broadly in our immigration regulations and includes "any benefit in the form of money, goods or services provided to or on behalf of a person by a province under a program of social assistance…");
Is in default of a previous undertaking or a debt owed to the Crown under our immigration laws (i.e. for the violation of a performance bond etc.);
Is in default of any support payment obligations ordered by a court; or
Has previously sponsoreda spouse or partner and that person has become a permanent resident within the last three years.
All these criteria must be met "on the day on which the application was filed and from that day until a decision is made".
In addition to the above financial criteria, the sponsor must:
Be at least 18 years of age and either residing in Canada or intending to reside in Canada when the applicant becomes a permanent resident;
Intend to fulfill the obligations of the sponsorship undertaking;
Not be the subject of a removal order;
Not be in jail; and
Not have been convicted of a sexual offence against any person or of an offence that results in bodily harm to his/her own relative or that of their spouse (An exception may apply if they have been pardoned, found to have been rehabilitated, and/or or five years have passed.)
Readers are cautioned that special rules may apply where the sponsor resides in Quebec.
An income is always nice to have. However, the lack of it should not, and does not, have to keep couples apart.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.
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