Sponsoring Undeclared
Family Members

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Canada's Pilot project to sponsor undeclared family members

When applying for permanent residence, you must declare all family members on your application, or you will be permanently barred from sponsoring them. Canada has now renewed a pilot program to allow certain applicants to sponsor their previously undeclared family members.

Who is an undeclared family member?

Family members include your spouse or common-law partner, any dependent children, and any dependent children of your dependent children (grandchildren). If you fail to provide information on or don’t disclose a family member on your application, they are considered ‘undeclared’.

Why do I need to declare all my family members?

If one family member is inadmissible to Canada, then so is every member of that family (s.42 IRPA). Thus, immigration authorities conduct background screening on all family members, whether they are accompanying you to Canada or not.

What happens if I don’t declare a family member?

Failing to have a non-accompanying family member examined by the Canadian authorities results in a lifetime exclusion in being able to sponsor that family member (r. 117(9)(d) and 125(1)(d) IRPR). You could also be refused entry to Canada, or charged with misrepresentation.

Does it matter why I didn’t declare a family member?

No. If the non-disclosure prevents the Canadian immigration authorities from examining the family member, the applicant will be permanently barred from sponsoring an undeclared family member. This is true even if the non-disclosure was accidental or you gained no advantage from it.

How to Sponsor Under the New Program

Sponsoring Undeclared Family Members

Who is eligible to apply?

  • You became a permanent resident being sponsored as a spouse, common-law partner, conjugal partner, or dependent child; as a refugee inside or outside Canada; or as a dependent family member of a refugee
  • You meet all regular eligibility requirements: you are at least 18 years of age, a permanent resident or citizen, and live in Canada
  • The family member you wish to sponsor would not have made you ineligible to immigrate to Canada
  • The family member you wish to sponsor is a previously undeclared spouse, common-law partner, or dependent child
  • The family member you wish to sponsor is otherwise eligible to be sponsored to Canada

How do I sponsor a family member under the pilot project?

There is no special process to apply for sponsorship under the pilot project. Applicants must apply using the normal process to sponsor your spouse, common-law partner, or dependent child. You can read more on sponsorship at the following links:
Sponsoring Undeclared Family Eligibility

Who is NOT eligible to apply?

  • You immigrated to Canada under one of the economic categories, such as the Federal Skilled Workers Program or the Provincial Nomination Programs
  • You were initially sponsored in the Family Class other than as a spouse, common-law partner, or dependent child (for example, as a parent or grandparent)
  • You are a permanent resident in the permit holder class
  • The undeclared family member would have made you inadmissible to Canada when you initially immigrated
  • The reason you didn’t declare the family member is because their declaration would have disqualified you from immigrating to Canada

What if I don’t qualify to sponsor under the new pilot program?

If you do not qualify under the pilot program, the standard recourse, and only option available for those wishing to sponsor undeclared family members is to apply permanent residence on humanitarian and compassionate (H&C) grounds (s. 25(1) IRPA)

H&C applications allow the immigration authorities to grant permanent residence status to foreign nationals who would not otherwise qualify in any class, on the basis of compelling humanitarian and compassionate reasons to provide them with legal status in Canada.

What if my sponsorship application is refused?

If your sponsorship application of a previously undeclared family member is refused, you can appeal to the Federal Court by way of a two-step process: application for leave and judicial review.

The first step is to apply for leave from a judge of the Federal Court. Generally, an application for leave must be made to the Federal Court within 15 days of receiving an immigration decision made in Canada.

If you are granted leave, you have permission to bring your case before the court and a hearing will be scheduled. If you are denied leave, then your case will be dismissed and finally concluded.

You do not have the right to appeal to the Immigration Appeals Division (IAD) as you would if you were applying under the regular family sponsorship categories. The IAD does not have jurisdiction over these appeals because undeclared relatives are not considered to be members of the family class. Therefore, appeals must be made to the Federal Court.

What are the risks in sponsoring an undeclared family member?

Sponsoring previously undeclared family members may come with some risks as the pilot program does not suspend other admissibility provisions. The immigration authorities can still investigate individuals who may be inadmissible due to misrepresentation, if there are grounds to believe they have misrepresented material facts in their applications. Misrepresentation is the intentional changing of facts or information, and can be done by lying, providing wrong information, or intentionally providing false documents.

Misrepresenting yourself to Canadian immigration authorities is a criminal offence, and often results in having your application refused, being barred from re-applying for five years, and being banned from entering Canada for five years. It is possible in serious cases to have your permanent residence or citizenship revoked, and you could be removed from Canada.

Here's How We Can Help

The Law Office of Matthew Jeffery has years of experience successfully representing sponsorship applicants, in both their initial applications and appeals, and can assist you with your case.

If you initially failed to declare a family member that would have made you ineligible or inadmissible to Canada when you applied for permanent residence, you may be investigated for misrepresentation.

If you applied to sponsor a previously undeclared family member and had your application refused, we can assist you with your appeal to the Federal Court. These appeals are highly sophisticated, time-consuming, and often quite challenging as they involve complex issues of law and procedure. Obtaining the services of an experienced immigration lawyer may greatly increase your changes of successfully winning your appeal.

Hiring an experienced immigration lawyer to assist you in this process – whether applying through the pilot program, on humanitarian and compassionate grounds, or submitting an appeal – is highly recommended to represent you and guide you through the process due to the complexity of Canada’s immigration policies and the severe consequences that could be imposed.

If you are interested in sponsoring an undeclared family member, please fill our FREE ASSESSMENT form to determine whether you qualify, or contact us to see if we can help with your immigration matters.

We Can Help You Sponsoring Undeclared Family Members

Here’s how we can help you:

When it comes to navigating the complex landscape of immigration and sponsorship in Canada, you need a trusted partner who understands the intricacies of the system. At the Law Office of Matthew Jeffery, we are your go-to experts in facilitating Express Entry applications.