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Minister of Immigration |
May 4, 2017
As of this week, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) announced that the two-year condition for family sponsorship has been abolished. This condition required sponsored spouses or common-law partners to live with his or her sponsor for a minimum of two years in order to keep their permanent residency (PR) status in Canada. The former policy targeted couples who resided with their sponsor for two years or less and did not have children between them.
The amendment applies to not only new candidates for family sponsorship to Canada, but current permanent residents who had previously been subjected to the policy before the change was implemented.
IRCC said the recent change to immigration policy was made over concern for sponsored individuals remaining in abusive relationships out of fear of losing their Canadian residency. Since the condition was introduced in 2012 as a means to detect fraudulent relationships, immigration authorities have indicated that approximately 100,000 sponsored spouses or common-law partners have been subjected to the rule.
Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen stated the reasoning behind abolishing the measure was to avoid “[Making] made a bad situation worse by possibly making people feel they needed to stay in abusive situations just to keep their status in Canada.”
Although sponsored spouses or common-law partners involved in an abusive relationship were already exempt from the two year policy, many remained in abusive relationships for fear of losing their permanent residency status, and were likely unaware of the special condition granted to such circumstances. Hussen further remarked that “Removing conditional permanent residence is another example of the government’s commitment for family reunification to make it easier for immigrants to build successful lives in Canada.”
In a statement released by IRCC, it was made clear that placing family-sponsored individuals in a vulnerable situation was not a sensible risk when measured with exposing immigration fraud in a relationship. Even more, the IRCC noted that immigration officials are trained in detecting whether or not immigrating couples are involved in a legitimate relationship. If authorities determine that an immigrating couple is involved in a fraudulent relationship, the sponsored spouse or partner could have his or her permanent residency application or status revoked and they would be required to leave Canada.
Under Canada’s current immigration regulations, once Canadian permanent residency is granted to a sponsored spouse or common-law partner, he or she is eligible to sponsor a new spouse or common-law partner after a five-year period of receiving his or her initial residency status.
Below are general eligibility requirements for both sponsors and sponsored family members, including (but not limited to) spouses and common-law partners.
Sponsor Requirements for Family Sponsorship in Canada
General requirements to be a sponsor for spouses, common-law partners, and dependents are as follows: