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New annual record likely for spousal sponsorship immigration to Canada

Canada is on track to set a new annual record for the number of new permanent residents immigrating here through spousal sponsorship.

The latest data from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) reveals that 51,810 new permanent residents immigrated to Canada under spousal sponsorship in the first nine months of this year.

Based on this trend, Canada is about to have welcomed 69,080 new permanent residents under this spousal sponsorship program by the end of this year.


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This represents 4,645 new permanent residents, or 7.2%, or 7.2% more than the number of people sponsored by a spouse last year.

It’s also 4,305 new permanent residents, or 6.6%, more than immigrated to Canada through spousal sponsorship in 2019, the last full year before the pandemic, when the country set a record high of 64,435 new permanent residents under this program.

As Canada opens its arms to an ever-increasing number of immigrants, a growing number of them are taking advantage of the spousal sponsorship program to reunite with their loved ones.

Spousal sponsorships have grown in popularity in the years leading up to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In 2015, Canada welcomed 46,350 new permanent residents through spousal sponsorship. The following year, that number increased by 22.7% to 56,855.

The number of spousal sponsorships increased by a more modest 2.3% in 2017, but then jumped 8.2% the following year to see 62,885 new permanent residents come to Canada in 2018.

In 2019, Canada welcomed 64,775 new permanent residents through spousal sponsorship, an increase of 3% or 1,890 new permanent residents from the previous year.

Then COVID-19 hit.

The COVID-19 pandemic caused spousal sponsorships to plummet for a year

Ottawa has temporarily closed borders to all but essential travel and governments across the country have implemented strict public health measures, all of which have significantly reduced immigration to Canada.

Immigration to Canada fell 45.9% in the first year of the pandemic

In 2019, the country had welcomed 341,175 new permanent residents to the country, but the following year this dropped dramatically and by the end of 2020, Canada had only seen 184,590 new permanent residents settle. in the country.

Spousal sponsorships have declined in line with the general immigration trend.


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In 2020, the number of new permanent residents who came to Canada under this program fell by 44.2%, or 28,655 spouses, while the country welcomed only 36,120.

Last year, however, immigration to Canada revived, soaring almost 120% to reach a record 406,040 new permanent residents by the end of the year.

And spousal sponsorships have also increased.

In that year alone, spousal sponsorships in Canada soared 78.4%, with 28,315 more new permanent residents per year, to 64,435. That was almost – but not quite – as many spousal sponsorships than before the pandemic began.

Spousal sponsorships resumed in September after a mild August

But things are looking up for this year and a new record is in the works if the current trend continues.

There are, of course, fluctuations in the number of new residents coming to Canada through spousal sponsorship from month to month.

In August of this year, the number of people who obtained their permanent residence in Canada through this program decreased by 24.2% compared to the previous month to increase by almost exactly the same percentage in September.

Across the country, the number of spousal sponsorships is on track to end the year down from 2021 in the French-speaking province of Quebec, where they are forecast to drop 9.3%, and in the Prairie provinces Manitoba, where spousal sponsorships are expected to end the year of a 4.6 percent decline, and Saskatchewan, which is about to end the year with spousal sponsorships down 1.3 percent .

On current trends, the Northwest Territories is also expected to end the year with spousal sponsorships down 17.9%.

The significant gains so far this year in the number of spouses joining loved ones through this program are most apparent in Atlantic Nova Scotia. There, spousal sponsorships are expected to end the year up 35.4%, or 225 new permanent residents.

Next door in New Brunswick, spousal sponsorships are on track to end the year up 20.4% and Prince Edward Island is expected to post similar growth of 22.2% number of new permanent residents arriving through this program.

The Yukon Territory is also expected to end the year with spousal sponsorships up 22.2% and Nunavut is expected to show spousal sponsorship growth of 33.3%.

On The Rock, as Newfoundland and Labrador is affectionately called, spousal sponsorships promise to end the year up 11.1%.

Ontario on track to welcome 4,173 more people through spousal sponsorship this year than in 2021

In central Canada, spousal sponsorships from Ontario are on track to end the year up 14.4%, or 4,173 new permanent residents, over last year and see 33,133 spouses immigrate under this program in 2022.

Spousal sponsorships in Alberta are expected to end the year up 5.4% over last year and those in British Columbia, up 6.9%.

When a Canadian citizen or permanent resident chooses to sponsor a spouse or common-law partner to immigrate to Canada, the sponsor must sign an undertaking promising to provide financial support for the basic needs of the sponsored person, including:

  • food, clothing, shelter and their daily living needs, and;
  • dental care, eye care and other health needs not covered by public health services.

This agreement cannot be canceled even if:

  • the sponsored person becomes a Canadian citizen;
  • the couple divorces, separates or the relationship breaks down;
  • either the sponsor or the sponsored spouse or common-law partner moves to another province or country, or;
  • the sponsor is experiencing financial problems.

Maternity, parental and sickness benefits paid under the Employment Insurance Act in Canada are all considered income and help enable a person to sponsor a spouse or common-law partner, but other government payments, such as employment insurance and federal training allowances, are not considered income. income.

On its website, IRCC provides estimates of current processing times for various types of applications, including spousal sponsorships.

According to this website, the current processing time for sponsorship applications for spouses or common-law partners currently outside the country is now reduced to 20 months.

This estimated processing time includes:

  • the time required to provide biometrics;
  • the evaluation of the sponsor and the sponsored person, and;
  • the time immigration officers need to ensure that the sponsor and spouse or common-law partner meet the eligibility criteria.

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