Family unification is an important objective of the Canadian immigration system. As a Canadian citizen or permanent resident, you may be able to sponsor certain relatives to immigrate to Canada under the family Class under specific requirements. For starters, you must be:
- at least 18 years old,
- able to support your relative financially when they arrive in Canada,
- able to meet basic needs for yourself and your relative,
- ensure that your relative is not in need of social assistance,
As a sponsor, you will have the responsibility to meet set income guidelines and to agree in writing to provide your relative with financial support. This financial responsibility begins on the date the sponsored person becomes a permanent resident and can last from 3 years to 20 years, depending on the age of the sponsored person and their relationship to you.
You may not be able to sponsor a relative if you:
- are in prison,
- have not paid your alimony or child support payments,
- have declared bankruptcy and have not been released from it yet,
- received social assistance for reasons other than being disabled,
- did not pay back an immigration loan, made late payments or missed payments,
- sponsored another relative in the past and did not meet the terms of the sponsorship agreement,
- were convicted of a violent crime, any offence against a relative or any sexual offence, depending on the details of the case, such as:
- the type of offence
- how long ago it was
- whether a record suspension was issued (formerly called “pardons” in Canada)
In addition, the relative you are sponsoring must meet eligibility criteria in order to be sponsored by you.
Under what circumstances can I sponsor my brother or sister to Canada?
As a general rule, brothers and sisters (siblings) cannot be directly sponsored under the Family Class. However, there are specific instances where you can sponsor a brother or a sister to immigrate to Canada. These include:
- sponsoring an orphaned brother and sister,
- sponsoring a brother or sister who is an accompanying dependent of sponsored parents,
- sponsoring a brother and sister who is considered an “other relative”.
Sponsoring orphaned brothers or sisters
As a Canadian citizen or permanent resident, you can sponsor an orphaned brother or a sister only if they meet the following criteria:
- the sibling is related to you by blood or adoption,
- both the mother and the father of the sibling have passed away,
- the sibling is under 18-years-old,
- the sibling is single (not married or in a common-law or conjugal relationship).
You cannot sponsor your brother or sister under the orphaned category if:
- one of their parents is still alive,
- no one knows where their parents are,
- their parents abandoned them,
- someone else other than their parents is taking care of them while one or both their parents are alive,
- their parent is in jail or otherwise detained.
Sponsoring brothers and sisters as accompanying dependents of sponsored parents
When sponsoring a foreign parent or parents, a Canadian sponsor may be able to include their foreign siblings as dependents in the application. An accompanying child of the principal applicant or a child of the principal applicant’s spouse or common-law partner will be considered a dependent child if that child meets the requirements below on the day that the application is received by the IRCC:
- they’re under 22 years old,
- they don’t have a spouse or common-law partner.
Children 22 years old or older qualify as dependants only if they meet both of these requirements:
- they have depended on their parents for financial support since before the age of 22,
- they are unable to financially support themselves because of a mental or physical condition.
Under this category, brothers or sisters can be sponsored indirectly as they will be listed as dependent children under the application you’ve submitted to sponsor your parents for permanent residency in Canada. If the application is approved, your siblings will be issued permanent residence at the same time as the parents.
Sponsoring brothers or sisters as “other relative”
You may sponsor one relative, related by blood or adoption, of any age, if you meet all of these conditions:
- you (the person who wants to sponsor your relative) don’t have a living relative you could sponsor instead, such as a:
- common-law partner;
- conjugal partner;
- son or daughter;
- orphaned brother or sister;
- orphaned nephew or niece;
- orphaned grandchild
- you (the potential sponsor) don’t have any relatives (aunt or uncle or any of the relatives listed above), who is a:
- Canadian citizen;
- permanent resident;
- registered Indian under the Indian Act
This means that you may be able to sponsor a sibling if that sibling is the only remaining relative that is related to you by blood or adoption.
In addition, if the relative you want to sponsor has a spouse, partner, or dependent children who will come with them to Canada, you must include them on the same sponsorship application.
How Can We Help?
Sponsoring a brother or sister can be a difficult process, especially due to strict eligibility criteria and the need for strong evidence to support the sponsor’s ability to financially support the applicant. The Law Office of Matthew Jeffery specializes in complex cases and has been sponsoring families with more than 20 years of experience. Contact us or fill out our Free Family Sponsorship Assessment form to see if we can help you.