A Canadian citizen or permanent resident may sponsor their foreign spouse or partner to become a permanent resident of Canada. As part of this process, the Canadian must agree to be financially responsible for their spouse for a period of three years. This means that if the foreign spouse or partner receives social assistance in Canada within the three-year period after they obtain permanent residence, then the Canadian sponsor may be required to pay the government back for the amounts collected.
Minimum necessary income to sponsor a spouse in Canada
There is no specific amount of income required to sponsor your spouse or partner, and determining the sufficient income is a fact-specific assessment based on the circumstances of the sponsor and the foreign spouse or partner. However, to ensure that the Canadian sponsor will be able to meet their sponsorship responsibilities, the immigration authorities will assess whether he or she has sufficient funds in order to sponsor.
In general, as long as the Canadian sponsor has full time employment in Canada, even if this is at minimum wage, the immigration authorities will accept that he or she meets the income requirement to sponsor a spouse or partner in Canada.
If the Canadian sponsor is unemployed, or their employment is outside of Canada, then the immigration authorities may consider proof of liquid assets, such as money held in a bank account, when assessing sufficient funds. Other assets may also be taken into consideration, such as ownership of a home in Canada.
The immigration authorities may also consider the circumstances of the foreign applicant. If the applicant is already living in Canada and has employment, or they have significant assets of their own, then the immigration authorities are less likely to have any concerns. This analysis may be more complicated where the sponsor and/or partner have dependent children, and therefore require greater income or assets to support the whole family.
Financial requirements that can prevent spousal sponsorship
While a refusal for failure to meet the income requirement is rare, it does happen. This is because the inability of a foreign national to support themselves in Canada is a ground of inadmissibility.
If the immigration authorities consider the Canadian sponsor’s income or assets to be too low to support both themselves and their foreign spouse or partner, they can find the foreign spouse or partner to be inadmissible. On this basis, the sponsorship application can be refused. However, this refusal could be appealed to the Immigration Appeal Division within 30 days.
Certain financial situations may also render a Canadian ineligible to sponsor. A Canadian cannot sponsor a foreign spouse or partner if:
- they are an undischarged bankrupt
- if they are collecting social services for any reason other than a disability.
If a sponsor is bankrupt, they must first have their bankruptcy discharged before they can sponsor. If they are collecting social assistance, they must cease collecting these benefits before applying to sponsor. Those who are collecting social services because they are disabled may still sponsor, but the immigration authorities will carefully consider whether the amount they are collecting is sufficient to support both themselves and the spouse or partner in Canada.
The Law Office of Matthew Jeffery has significant expertise in spouse and partner sponsorship applications and can assist you with your case. Fill out our free assessment form or contact us to see if we can help you with this process.