What are the Requirements to Sponsor my Wife to Canada - Immigration Blog about US & Canadian Immigration matters.
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What are the Requirements to Sponsor my Wife to Canada

What are the Requirements to Sponsor my Wife to Canada

Spousal Sponsorship Conditions, Agreement & Undertaking

When you are sponsoring your spouse or partner for Permanent Residency, whether it takes place inside or outside of Canada, you are committing to more than just each other. There are commitments and promises to be upheld by both the sponsor and the sponsored individual with the Canadian Government.

In some cases, this ‘agreement & undertaking’ lasts longer than the relationship, so it is important to fully understand what you are signing up for when you decide to sponsor your spouse. Similarly, if you are the sponsored person, your Permanent Residence is conditional for what can almost be considered a probationary period; therefore you must also be fully aware of what conditions are placed on you if you chose to pursue Spousal Sponsorship.

Sponsor’s Responsibilities

As part of completing your spousal sponsorship application to sponsor your spouse (either through inside Canada or outside Canada sponsorship), you will be required to complete and sign the form ‘Application to Sponsor, Sponsorship Agreement & Undertaking’ IMM 1344E. The purpose of this form is simple; it is a binding contract between the sponsor and the government, with the sponsor agreeing to the following conditions:

  • Sponsor undertakes the responsibility of providing any basic requirements for the sponsored person such as food, shelter, utilities, fuel, clothing, household supplies, personal requirements, and health care not provided by public health care such as eye or dental care; with the understanding the money, goods, or services must be sufficient to provide for the sponsored person.

  • Sponsor promises that their sponsored spouse will not have to apply for social assistance.

  • Sponsor undertakes the responsibility that if their sponsored spouse does apply for social assistance during the validity of the undertaking agreement, the amount accepted by the sponsored person becomes a debt owing to the government that they are responsible to pay back.

  • Sponsor agrees to undertake all of the above-mentioned responsibilities for 3 years from the date that their spouse receives PR status (please note that if the spouse is in Canada on a Temporary permit issued after the PR spousal application is submitted, the sponsor is responsible for the needs to their spouse during that time period as well).

Perhaps the most important part of this agreement is the fact that the undertaking remains in effect regardless of change of circumstance, meaning the sponsor remains fully responsible for the above terms regardless of factors such as unemployment, or even divorce. It is crucial for sponsors to understand that even if the marriage ends, the responsibility on their part doesn’t; regardless of whether they chose to leave the relationship, the sponsored spouse chooses to end the relationship, or if it is a mutual decision.

But Marriage is a lifetime commitment, so why does it matter?

Many couples who pursue spousal sponsorship will go on to have a lifelong, happy marriage as expected; and in those cases, the agreement & undertaking may not raise an issue. But in recent years, there has been a major increase in the number of ‘marriage of convenience’ cases, which can not only have a negative impact on the spousal immigration system as whole, but also on the many victims that result in marriages of convenience.

A ‘Marriage of Convenience’ has 2 definitions:

  • Both the sponsor and the spouse pretend to be in a genuine relationship in order for the sponsored spouse to gain Permanent Residency in Canada (This is often due to some financial agreement between both sides in exchange for the sponsorship).

  • The sponsor enters into the relationship with pure intentions of participating in a genuine marriage, while the spouse is using the relationship for the purpose of gaining Permanent Residence status in Canada, with no intentions of remaining in the relationship. This results in the victimization of the sponsor.

In both situations the relationship typically ends not long after the sponsored spouse receives PR status in Canada. This trend has unfortunately gained popularity as for some people who are not eligible for Canadian immigration under other categories such as Canadian Experience Class, Federal Skilled Worker Program, Federal Skilled Trades Program, etc., spousal sponsorship is the easiest form of Canadian immigration.

It is important for the sponsor to understand that whether the relationship ends for genuine reasons, or if they are the victim of a ‘marriage of convenience’, they could be financially responsible for the sponsored individual even after the divorce is finalized, until the 3 year date after their spouse received PR status.

Sponsored Spouse’s Conditions

Currently in Canada, if a spouse has been sponsored to Canada they will be granted ‘Conditional Permanent Residence’. The condition states that a sponsored spouse must cohabit in a genuine relationship with their sponsor for a minimum of 2 years from the day they received Permanent Residence status in Canada. If they do not, their PR status could be revoked. It is important to note that this condition does not apply to couples who share children. This condition was implemented October 25, 2012, as a deterrent to ‘marriages of convenience’, but it is unlikely that the sponsored spouse will be investigated or have their status revoked unless the sponsor reports being victimized to IRCC.

The downside of this condition is that sponsored spouses can often feel pressured to stay in unhappy relationships in order to satisfy the requirement for their PR, but Immigration, Refugee & Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has put certain exceptions into place regarding the conditional PR status, one of which is to ensure the safety of sponsored spouses:

Exception for Death of Sponsor:

If the sponsoring spouse dies during the 2 year conditional period, but it is determined that the sponsored spouse maintained in a legitimate relationship with their sponsor until their death, the condition is void.

Exception for Abuse or Neglect:

The condition no longer applies in cases where there is evidence of abuse whether it be physical, sexual, psychological or financial; or in cases of neglect, where there is a failure to provide the necessaries of life.

Another condition of being a sponsored spouse is the 5-year sponsorship ban. This condition states that if you came to Canada as a sponsored spouse, and your marriage ended, you cannot sponsor a spouse for 5 years from the day you received Permanent Resident status. The idea is once again to avoid ‘marriages of convenience’, but this could have a negative impact on someone’s future if they genuinely want to sponsor a spouse after the end of a previous relationship.

Does this mean I should avoid spousal sponsorship?

No! Ultimately, you cannot help who you fall in love with, and sharing a life together can be one of life’s greatest blessings. There are thousands of happily married couples sharing lives together in Canada thanks to spousal sponsorship. The purpose of this article is ensure our clients (and potential clients) are aware of all the facts they need to know in order to make a fully informed decision before entering into a marriage, or sponsoring a spouse or partner. The key advice to take away from this article is to know your partner! Before entering into any permanent relationship and pursuing immigration, make sure you each other’s personality, morals, character, and goals; this will make you much less likely to encounter the difficulties that could arise from the end of a marriage.

Contact Akrami and Associates

If you have questions regarding the spousal sponsorship process, or if you are sure you have found ‘the one’ and want to begin, contact us today for a consultation regarding your case! Akrami & Associates is an Immigration firm with years of experience in helping happy couples start their lives together in Canada through both Inside and Outside Canada Spousal Sponsorship.

With Akrami and Associates there is always a way!!

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