Family class sponsorship changes
by Michael Scott
There appears to be one enduring truth about immigration applications: change. This is now true about the sponsorship of spouses, common-law partners, conjugal partners, including dependent children and dependent children themselves. The changes announced in December 2016 remove the old distinction between sponsorship of persons outside Canada and those inside Canada. At least on this point IRCC has simplified things. The same forms are applicable whether you sponsor an eligible family member who is currently inside the country or those who reside abroad.
Family class applications must now be submitted under the following four categories: spouse (including dependent children); common-law partner (including children); conjugal partner (including children); and dependent children. The four separate categories correspond to four different checklists for each with requirements for forms and supporting documentation set forth:
- Document Checklist Spouse Including Dependent Children (IMM5533);
- Document Checklist Common-Law Partner Including Dependent Children (IMM5589);
- Document Checklist Conjugal Partner Including Dependent Children (IMM5629); and
- Document Checklist Dependent Child (IMM5534).
There are things that have not changed from the previous family application stream such as the requirement for a completed original Application to Sponsor, Sponsorship Agreement and Undertaking (IMM1344) and proof of payment of required processing fees and also the recommended payment for the Right of Permanent Resident fees. The applicant must still submit a completed Generic Application Form for Canada (IMM5406) and Additional Family Information (IMM5406) along with copies of civil documents, valid passports, and status in Canada if applicable.
There are also things that have changed, such as the removal of sponsor or sponsored person questionnaires, as the well the provision of police certificates and medical certificates. It is now optional for applicants to submit original police certificates as part of the sponsorship. Or, they can wait until these documents are requested along with a validated Schedule A Background/Declaration (IMM5669). The proof of examination by a panel physician is no longer required as part of the sponsorship submission but will be requested later in the process. However, there is a new form that must be included with the submission (where required) – the lengthy Relationship Information and Sponsorship Evaluation (IMM5532), which takes the place of the sponsor and sponsored person questionnaire and financial evaluation forms of the past.
The new system still requires supporting documentation regarding the sponsor’s status as well as copies of the civil documents, passports, photos of the applicant in accordance with country specific requirements. The major change is in the identification of supporting documents required to demonstrate the bona fide nature of the relationship between sponsor and sponsored person. IRCC has actually provided items for each of the four categories of items they expect to be included with the submission.
My first impression of the changes is that family class sponsorship has been simplified, especially by removing the differences between sponsorship of family members inside Canada and those from outside Canada. In the case of the former, this includes a formal option for the inclusion of an Open Work Permit application. Otherwise, applicants and sponsors alike must be aware of the questions asked of each on the new Relationship Information and Sponsorship Evaluation (IMM5532). This form and the documentation attached to the file will go a long way to determining how IRCC rules on the claimed relationship. All interested parties including practitioners in the field are challenged to submit all sponsorships according to the new rules and forms. If you do not understand the changes or the requirements and need assistance, then my recommendation is that you can always go to an immigration lawyer or licensed immigration consultant. Change comes with extra work and hopefully the changes in family class immigration will also come with reduced backlogs and faster processing times.
Michael Scott is a Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant (RCIC, R525678) who has 30 years of experience with Canada Immigration and the Manitoba Provincial Nominee Program. He currently works as a licensed consultant with R.B. Global Immigration Consultants Ltd. 204-691-1166 or 204-227-0292. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org