- Spousal sponsorship immigration to Canada almost doubled in January 2023 compared to the same month last year, with 10,065 new permanent residents welcomed.
- The number of spousal sponsorships in Canada is continuing to rebound after the COVID-19 pandemic caused a sharp drop in immigration levels in 2020 and has almost returned to pre-pandemic levels.
- Sponsors must sign an undertaking that promises to give financial support for the sponsored person’s basic needs, and the current processing time for sponsorship applications for spouses or common-law partners outside Canada is 16 months.
Spousal Sponsorship Immigration helped almost twice as many people gain their permanent residency in Canada in January 2023 compared to the same month last year according to Canada’s Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). A total of 10,065 new permanent residents were welcomed to Canada through spousal sponsorship immigration in January, which is up 90.1% from the 5,295 newcomers who arrived in January 2022.
In January 2023, the number of spousal sponsorships was also up 126.9% from the 4,435 new permanent residents who came to Canada in January 2020. These numbers demonstrate the growing importance of spousal sponsorship immigration in Canada, which is continuing to rebound after the COVID-19 pandemic caused a sharp drop in immigration levels in 2020.
Despite the sharp decline in immigration levels in 2020, overall immigration to Canada has rebounded and hit record levels in both 2021 and 2022. In 2019, 341,175 new permanent residents were welcomed to Canada, while in 2020 only 184,590 were welcomed. In 2021, however, a record 406,045 new permanent residents arrived in Canada, and in 2022, Canada hit another record with 437,500 new permanent residents.
Spousal Sponsorships in Canada
Spousal sponsorships in Canada are a key component of the country’s immigration system. In 2019, spousal sponsorships made up 19% of the total 341,175 new permanent residents who arrived in Canada. However, in 2020, spousal sponsorships declined by 44.2% to 36,120 new permanent residents, as public health and travel restrictions were put in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Spousal sponsorships rebounded to almost pre-pandemic levels in 2021, with more than 78.4% of the 64,440 new permanent residents arriving through the program. While spousal sponsorships in January 2023 nearly doubled, it is unlikely that these high levels will continue throughout 2023. In its Immigration Levels Plan 2023-2025, the Canadian government has set an upper limit of 84,000 new permanent residents under programs to sponsor spouses, partners, and children. The target for this year for that category of immigrants is 78,000 new permanent residents.
Financial Obligations for Sponsors
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 that promises to give financial support for the sponsored person’s basic needs. This includes food, clothing, shelter, and needs for everyday living, as well as dental care, eye care, and other health needs not covered by public health services.
The undertaking cannot be canceled, 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 if the sponsor experiences financial problems.
Maternity, parental, and sickness benefits paid under the Employment Insurance Act in Canada are considered income and contribute to allowing a person to sponsor a spouse or common-law partner. However, other payments from the government, such as employment insurance and federal training allowances, are not considered income.
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The current processing time for sponsorship applications for spouses or common-law partners outside Canada is now 16 months, down from the 20-month processing time last year. The processing time includes the time needed to provide biometrics, the assessment of the sponsor’s eligibility, and the medical examination of the sponsored person.
However, the processing time can vary depending on several factors, including the completeness of the application, the complexity of the case, and the number of applications received. Sponsors need to ensure that their application is complete and that all required documentation is included, as incomplete applications can lead to delays in processing times.
The IRCC has also implemented measures to expedite the processing of certain sponsorship applications, such as those involving family members of refugees or those in situations of family violence.
In conclusion, the increase in spousal sponsorships in Canada in January 2023 demonstrates the vital role of family reunification in the country’s immigration system. As immigration levels rebound from the COVID-19 pandemic, spousal sponsorships have become increasingly important for bringing families together in Canada. However, sponsors must understand their financial obligations and provide ongoing support for their spouse or common-law partner.
The processing time for sponsorship applications has slightly decreased, but applicants should ensure they provide complete and accurate documentation to avoid delays. Overall, the rise in spousal sponsorships is a positive development and highlights the importance of family unity in Canada’s immigration policies.