If it appears too good to be true, it may not be true
by Michael Scott
In the world of immigration there are some things that appear too good to believe. Our perceptions are based on wishful thinking, dreams and limited knowledge and experience. What you consider easy or true may be difficult or false. In terms of immigration, our actions are measured and judged by the immigration Act and Regulations. Some will believe what they want to believe and do what they want to do. There is nothing wrong with hope, with prayer, but you must be aware that some things that appear too good to be true appear that way because they are not true.
Take for example the often-misunderstood concept of which family members you can sponsor to Canada under the family class. I am speaking specifically of the well-intentioned Canadians who want to sponsor a brother or sister to Canada. It was never their intention to bypass the immigration Act or Regulations but to find what they consider to be a possible way to sponsor close relatives. The sponsors are often well-established, financially able to support their family members, supportive, and sincere, but misguided. They are soon to discover the error of their ways and the price they pay for pursuing false hopes.
The relatives who can be sponsored under family class are set forth in the Regulations s. 117(1). The Canadian sponsor (citizen or permanent resident) can sponsor their spouse, common-law or conjugal partner; dependent child; parent or grandparent, orphaned brother, sister, nephew, niece, or grandchild under the age of 18 years of age, or someone sponsored by a Canadian who has no other living relative in the world. It is important that potential sponsors understand the limits of each family class sponsorship based on the law and not wishful thinking and dreams.
Each family relationship must match the limits of the family class. Regarding the question of sponsoring brothers, sisters, cousins, aunts, and uncles, the answers are readily available for all who check Regulations section 117(1)(h). There are stated limits of family members you can sponsor today. The Assisted Relative Class is something that existed in the past but ended in 1993 or 28 years ago. The language of IRPR s.117(1)(h) is clear and unambiguous:
(h) a relative of the sponsor, regardless of age, if the sponsor does not have a spouse, a common-law partner, a conjugal partner, a child, a mother or father, a relative who is a child of that mother or father, a relative who is a child of a child of that mother or father, a mother or father of that mother or father or a relative who is a child of the mother or father of that mother or father (i) who is a Canadian citizen, Indian or permanent resident, or (ii) whose application to enter and remain in Canada as a permanent resident the sponsor may otherwise sponsor.
This is the section described as the “lonely Canadian” under the Regulations and is not readily open to interpretation. If you have a “spouse, a common-law partner, a conjugal partner” etc., you do not qualify. It is possible to find forms under Document Checklist – Sponsor (IMM5287) and submit an application, but you must understand the purpose. If you don’t meet the requirements for a “lonely Canadian” set forth under IRPR s.117(1)(h), you should not submit such a sponsorship. You will only end up with disappointment, dashed dreams, and misspent funds.
Do not fool yourself into believing that you have found the secret way to sponsor brothers, sisters or other ineligible persons for family class sponsorships. If you don’t understand immigration or want to ensure that you are doing the right thing, consult with a licensed immigration consultant or lawyer. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. It is better to do your research than to face the reality of losing your processing fees and having your dreams and those of the applicants crushed. It is important to leave the reading of this column with the warning that not everything that appears too good to be true is actually true. In the case of sponsoring brothers and sisters, the answer for many is that they cannot be sponsored under the family class.
Michael Scott is a Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant (RCIC, R525678) who has 30 years of experience with Immigration Canada and the Manitoba Provincial Nominee Program. He currently works as a licensed consultant with Immigration Connexion International Ltd. Contact him at 204-691-1166 or 204-227-0292. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.