Requirements for a Sponsor under Family Class Sponsorship
Canadian citizens and permanent residents must meet eligibility requirements to sponsor their family members for immigration. These are age, status in Canada and financial ability to support family members or close relatives. There are restrictions too.
Eligibility Requirements for a Sponsor
A sponsor should meet three (3) main requirements for age, status in Canada, and financial sufficiency.
Age – must be at least 18 years old.
Status in Canada – must be a Canadian citizen, or permanent resident of Canada, or registered Indian in Canada. Permanent residents must live in Canada to sponsor a family member or relative.
Financial ability – should be able to provide financial support to the sponsored family or relative in Canada. Financial support includes basic needs such as food, clothing, and shelter. For some types of sponsorship, the Low Income Cut Off Requirement (LICO) must be met.
Conditions that Must Be Removed Before You Can Sponsor Family Member
There are some additional requirements to be an eligible sponsor. For example, undischarged bankrupts, social assistance receivers (except for disability reasons), and prisoners are not eligible to sponsor their family members.
Also, sponsors who are in breach of their child support payments, immigration loan payments, terms of the previous sponsorship agreement, or committed a violent crime or sexual offense against a relative are not eligible to become a sponsor until those conditions removed.
Sponsor’s Income Requirement
A sponsor’s minimum income requirement exists only for some categories of Family Class sponsorship.
Thus, a sponsor does not need to meet a minimum income requirement to sponsor:
dependent children (under 22 years old), with some exceptions though.
However, to sponsor parents, grandparents, orphaned relatives and other close relatives, a sponsor must prove an annual income in the preceding years.
The annual income must at least be equal to the minimum necessary income, calculable based on the number of persons in a sponsor’s family. For that purpose, a sponsor’s family is composed of a sponsor, spouse or partner, dependent children, and the sponsored person(s). Every year the Canadian Government publishes federal income scales – Low Income Cut-Off (LICO).
Thus, to find out if the sponsor has the minimum necessary income to sponsor family members and relatives, firstly, find out a sponsor’s size of family, and then check the required annual income based on the number of the sponsor’s family members in the specified year.
Sponsor’s Financial Undertaking
Sponsors are financially responsible for family members and relatives they want to sponsor for Canadian permanent residence. A sponsor has to sign a document called Finacial Undertaking. The length of financial responsibility depends on the age and relationship to the sponsor, and whether a sponsor resides in Quebec.
Length of Financial Undertaking for all provinces except Quebec:
3 years – for spouse, common-law partner or conjugal partner
10 years – for a dependent child under 22 years of age or until age 25, whichever comes first
3 years – for dependent child 22 years of age or older
20 years – for parents or grandparents
10 years – for other relatives
Importantly to remember that a sponsor can not cancel or withdraw undertaking after the person sponsored has become a permanent resident of Canada. A sponsor can not cancel or withdraw financial undertaking even if the sponsored person becomes a Canadian citizen, the sponsor lost a job or has a debt.
For example, if you had sponsored a wife and divorced 1 year after she became a permanent resident of Canada, as a sponsor you will still be financially responsible for the ex-wife for 2 more years. This is because the period of undertaking for a spouse is 3 years.