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Relative In Canada & Canadian Immigration

Published on: August 25th, 2014
Last updated: February 16th, 2022

Did you know that, if you or your accompanying spouse has a relative in Canada, it could make it easier for you to qualify for immigration programs like the Federal Skilled Worker program?

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The Federal Skilled Worker (FSW) program is a federal economic program operated through the Express Entry system. The program requires candidates to meet a minimum of 67 on the FSW points grid. The points grid considers a number of factors, including having Canadian family members.

Not all Canadian family members can be considered toward your FSW eligibility.  Your relative must be either a Canadian Citizen or Permanent Resident and have an eligible degree of relationship with yourself or your spouse. Eligible relatives that can increase your FSW points include:

  1. Parent
  2. Child
  3. Grandparent
  4. Grandchild
  5. Sibling (of yourself or your spouse)
  6. Aunt or Uncle (of yourself or your spouse)
  7. Niece or Nephew (of yourself or your spouse)

You will note that cousins and close friends are not included on the list. Friends and cousins are not eligible to award additional points through the three federal Express Entry programs.

Is my relative in Canada sponsoring me for immigration?

Claiming FSW points for having a relative in Canada is not the same as family sponsorship. Your relative is not sponsoring you; they are not taking responsibility for you in any way with the immigration authorities and they cannot alone make you eligible for Canadian immigration.

It should also be noted that having an eligible relative in Canada does not guarantee that you will be eligible for Canadian Immigration. To apply through the FSW Program, you must also meet minimum eligibility requirements related to your work experience, education, and language ability. Having a relative in Canada simply adds 5 points to your application under the adaptability factor, which can help push your application above the FSW program’s 67-point pass mark.

How does having a relative in Canada improve my CRS score?

The requirements to claim points for having a relative in Canada change once you enter the Express Entry pool. While the FSW calculates your eligibility points, once you have submitted a profile, you are given another score by Canada’s Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS).

In order to claim CRS points, your relative in Canada must be your brother or sister. If you have a sibling living in Canada, you can claim an additional 15 points toward your score.

However, depending on the province your relative resides in, they may help your chances with a Provincial Nominee Program.

How do I prove I have a relative in Canada?

To claim points for having a family member in Canada, you must demonstrate that they are currently living in Canada, their status in Canada and that they are your relative. Documentation can include:

  • Your relative’s Canadian passport or PR card
  • Your birth certificate, your relative’s birth certificate, and, if applicable, the birth certificate of another family member that proves the relation
  • A lease or recent utility bill

Family Sponsorship

Unless your relative in Canada is a spouse, common-law partner or your adult child or grandchild, most likely, they cannot sponsor you to come here.

Having a friend or other type of relative who is willing to ‘sponsor’ you to come to Canada is not possible under Canada’s current immigration system.

Spousal sponsorship is the category in which you would sponsor a spouse, common-law partner or dependent child and processing times for these applications vary depending on which country the foreign spouse is applying from.

Parental and grandparent sponsorship is also a valid category of immigration where an adult child can sponsor their parents or grandparents to come to Canada provided the Canadian child has been living in Canada for at least 3 years and can demonstrate sufficient financial assets.

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