By Atty. Henry Moyal
Q. I was born in Canada and want to sponsor a woman from the Philippines that I met online. We married last year in Las Vegas. I have never sponsored anyone before and do not know what to do. What do I need to know so this goes smoothly?
A. Assuming you are eligible to sponsor, the next issue is to determine if you will be successful. There is a big difference between eligibility and ultimate outcome. You may be eligible but it does not mean you will be successful. Immigration officer must determine that the marriage is genuine. Meeting online is common place in today’s tech world but visa officers may also be suspicious of such relationships especially if there are age gaps, cultural differences etc…It is therefore important to document the file as much as possible to support the relationship. Conversely, even if the marriage is genuine, a sponsor may be ineligible for several reasons. For example:
Sponsors cannot sponsor if:
1. They are permanent residents subject to a removal order – this includes stayed orders, departure orders, exclusion orders and deportation orders.
2. They are detained in any penitentiary, jail, reformatory or prison
3. They are convicted of a sexual offence under the Criminal Code (against anyone); or an offence (against the person) under the Criminal Code against a family member
Sponsors or co-signers convicted of either of these offences where five years have not passed since the completion of the sentence imposed
4. They are in default of spousal or child support payments ordered by a court. This includes payments ordered by a court outside of Canada.
5. They are an undischarged bankrupt under the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act
The property of the bankrupt is placed in the hands of a trustee, who works out an arrangement with creditors.
For first-time bankrupts, a discharge is automatically nine months from the date of bankruptcy, unless a stakeholder objects to this discharge for reasons such as the bankrupt failed to live up to their obligations; in other cases, a bankrupt can apply for a discharge by a court, after 9 months (or earlier, in limited circumstances).
6. They are in receipt of social assistance other than for reasons of disability
7. Sponsors are in default if they have not honoured a previous sponsorship undertaking;
8. The sponsor immigrated to Canada by way of a spousal sponsorship and five years have not passed.
On the other hand, it is important to note that even if the sponsor if eligible the following are considered excluded relationships in relation to the applicant seeking immigrant status:
1. Spouse is under the age of 16
2. Sponsor has existing undertaking not yet ended for another spouse, common-law partner or conjugal partner
Sponsors of spouses or partners under the previous Act, who signed 10-year undertakings must wait 3 years before being eligible to sponsor again. Their 10-year undertakings are nevertheless valid for the full 10 years; only the exclusion is shortened to 3 years.
3. Bigamous or polygamous relationships
4. Separated or former spouse or common-law partner or other non accompanying family members who were not examined at the time of the sponsor’s application for permanent residence
Finally, one must keep in mind that regardless of the ground of ineligibility, a sponsor has an automatic right to appeal a refusal to the Immigration Appeal Board if the application is processed outside of Canada. Sponsors of applicants seeking to remain in Canada do not have a right of appeal to the IAD if they are applying under the Spouse or common-law partner in Canada class or under the in-Canada humanitarian and compassionate category.
Attorney Henry Moyal is a certified and licensed immigration lawyer in Toronto, Ontario. The above article is general advice only and is not intended to act as a legal document. Send questions to Attorney Moyal by email firstname.lastname@example.org or call toll free 1-888-847-2078