Clearing the air on family-sponsorship policies - News - Jamaica Gleaner - Tuesday | November 12, 2013
Dear Miss Powell, When I first came to Canada, my aunt was the one who sponsored me. Now I am planning to sponsor my niece, and I read one of your articles where you said that aunts can't sponsor an individual. I am writing to tell you that you are wrong in your assumptions and I'm living proof that aunts can sponsor their nieces and nephews.
I'm smiling as I read your correspondence and would like to thank you for sharing your experience. Although you did not share the details of when you were sponsored and your particular circumstances, I would like to reiterate that every immigration file is assessed on an individual basis. Further, the public must be aware that Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) changes its programmes and policies on a regular basis and, therefore, those of us who are practising in immigration law must update ourselves on a weekly, if not daily, basis.
I won't go into the history of the policy, but will note that in 2002, CIC passed the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA) to replace the Immigration Act of 1976. This has been subsequently amended numerous times and eligible persons under this category were further narrowed to select close relatives.
The fact is that when these changes were effected, many persons who were eligible to be sponsored found that they could no longer qualify. You may be one of the lucky ones who applied before the changes were effected and were able to benefit from the old policies. Or you may have a special circumstance, which warranted the granting of your application.
Parent and grandparents are effectively omitted from the list of eligible family member since November 5, 2011, as CIC stopped accepting applications to sponsor parents or grandparents. Instead, parents and grandparents may be eligible to visit Canada for up to two years under the new Super Visa programme.
So let me update you and the rest of the readers on the current status of the CIC policies regarding family sponsorship as at November 2013.
Family Class Category
A Canadian citizen or a permanent resident of Canada who is at least 18 years old may sponsor family member(s) to Canada under the Family Class category. This category allows for a sponsorship of a specific and defined group of relatives. Family members who may be sponsored include a spouse, common-law or conjugal partner of the same or opposite sex, and dependent children or adoptive children. You may also include your spouse or common-law partner's dependent child and the dependent child of a dependent child.
There may also be special circumstances, which would be considered by CIC. These include ability to sponsor an orphaned brother, sister, nephew, or niece, or where you can demonstrate some other humanitarian and compassionate grounds for your application.
If you are single with no other relative in Canada, you may also apply to sponsor one relative regardless of age or relationship.
So you may be eligible to sponsor a relative only if you are able to demonstrate that you do not have a living spouse or common-law partner, conjugal partner, a son or daughter, parent, grandparent, sibling, uncle, aunt, nephew, or niece who could be sponsored as a member of the Family Class, and you do not have any relative who is a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident, and provided that you are both able to satisfy the requirements.
Family Class applicants
Family Class applicants are not assessed under the 'point system' that applies to economic immigrants such as federal skilled workers. They will be assessed on the basis of their relationship to their sponsor and the sponsor's ability to qualify. A sponsor must be able to demonstrate the ability to provide for your own essential needs and be able to provide for the housing and financial support of your relative. You will be responsible to ensure that the person sponsored will not need social assistance from the government. Further, the person being sponsored will need to satisfy the medical and security requirement.
I hope this information helps you and other readers. Other readers are welcome to share the immigration experience with me. I am always pleased to hear from you.
Deidre S. Powell is a lawyer, mediator, and notary public who is a member of the Jamaican and Ontario, Canada bars, with office located in Ottawa, Ontario. Her areas of practice are in immigration, commercial, real estate, personal injury, family, and administration of estates. She is on the roster of Mediators for Ottawa, Toronto, and the Dispute Resolution Foundation of Jamaica. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Subject line: Immigration Twitter: deidrespowell Facebook: jamaicanlawyer