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Potential Changes to Canada’s Spousal Sponsorship Program

Did you know: The federal government of Canada is considering potential changes to Canada’s spousal sponsorship program? More specifically they are looking into implementing minimum language and educational requirements for husbands and wives who wish to be sponsored by their Canadian partner.

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They are also considering imposing minimum financial requirements for the Canadian wishing to sponsor their foreign spouse. Currently there are no financial requirements a Canadian must meet to be eligible to sponsor a spouse but the Canadian cannot be receiving social assistance from the government.

What makes Canada’s current spousal sponsorship program unique is that unlike many other countries, we do not impose minimum educational and language requirements on a foreign spouse who wishes to be sponsored by their Canadian partner. Essentially the only major deciding factor under the current spousal sponsorship regulations is that the relationship between the couple is indeed genuine. If these changes are implemented they would be a real game changer for the Canadian spousal sponsorship program.

Other items being considered are increasing the minimum age of a sponsored spouse from 16 to 18 and create self-employment incentives for immigrant women.

It should be mentioned that these changes are only proposed changes and in the very early stages of the consultative process. The main purpose of these proposed changes would be to protect vulnerable immigrant women and help facilitate their integration into Canadian society.

Critics argue that this will essentially mean that many individuals from developing countries will be, for all intents and purposes, not eligible to be sponsored by their Canadian spouse simply because of where they were born. One could argue however that education and language proficiency in English or French would better protect newcomers to Canada as they would be more likely to secure gainful employment and access social services without the direct assistance of their Canadian spouse.

Strengthening the integrity of Canada’s spousal sponsorship program is nothing new but in the past it primarily focused on protecting Canadians from foreign nationals who wish to enter into a marriage of convenience to secure immigration status in Canada. So in 2012 Citizenship and Immigration Canada implemented a rule that prevented previously sponsored spouses from sponsoring a new spouse until 5 years have passed since the date they received their Canadian Permanent Residence.

Conditional permanent residence was also implemented which means that if the foreign spouse and Canadian have not been together for 2 years or do not share children together they can have their permanent residence status revoked if the relationship is not maintained.

It’s safe to say that since these changes are still in the consultative stages it will be some time before they are enacted, if they are ever even enacted at all. That being said, it’s getting harder to immigrate to Canada in many ways. Many Canadian Immigration programs now require either a Canadian job offer or Canadian experience. Others have implemented lists of eligible occupations and strict program caps and quotas. There is a general trend of increasing program requirements to limit the number of applications they receive and bring only the best and brightest to Canada as permanent residents.

So if you are considering sponsoring your spouse to be a Canadian or you are a skilled worker who wants to obtain Canadian Permanent Residence for yourself, now is the time to apply, before it is too late.

Get in touch with us by completing our free online assessment for skilled workers or if you are interested in sponsoring your spouse to come to Canada fill out our free online assessment for family sponsorship. Lastly you can also reach us by email at attorney@canadim.com but we ask that you fill out an assessment first so we can advise you of your Canadian Immigration options.

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The Canadim Team!

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