Last Updated on December 31, 2020

Family sponsorship is one of the fastest and most popular ways to gain permanent residence in Canada and is expected to boom again as international travel restrictions ease up this year.

India is the biggest source of new permanent residents to Canada and China the second-biggest such source. 

Before the Covid-19 pandemic hit, more than 20.6 per cent of the 85,590 new permanent residents to Canada from India came here under family sponsorship programs and so did more than 34.9 per cent of those from China.

From those two countries alone, 28,125 immigrants came to Canada through the family sponsorship programs in 2019.

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As the borders loosen up with the worldwide distribution of Covid-19 vaccines and economies recover from the financial impact of the pandemic, that family sponsorship class of immigration programs promises to provide great opportunities for foreign nationals who want to make Canada their home.

Under the family sponsorship programs, a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident of Canada, aged 18 or more can sponsor certain family members to become Canadian permanent residents. 

With that permanent residence, those family members are able to live, study and work in Canada. 


The sponsor assumes all financial responsible for their relative once he or she arrives in Canada. 

To be a sponsor, the Canadian citizen or permanent resident must:

  • sign a sponsorship agreement with the relative to be sponsored that commits the sponsor to provide financial support for the relative, if necessary. This agreement also says the person becoming a permanent resident will make every effort to support him or herself;
  • provide financial support for a spouse, common-law or conjugal partner for three years from the date they become a permanent resident, and;
  • provide financial support for a dependent child for 10 years, or until the child turns 25, whichever comes first.

Individuals interested in applying under the Family Class sponsorship category may obtain an assessment of their eligibility by completing a Free Online Evaluation

Relatives who can be sponsored include:

Spouses and common-law partners who come to Canada under the sponsorship programs are allowed to work under the Spousal Work Permit Pilot Program.


The program is designed to allow spouses and partners to work while their immigration applications are being finalized.

Eligible candidates must be in Canada and in the process of being sponsored for permanent residence under the spouse or common-law partner class. Candidates must also have valid temporary status as a visitor, student or worker.

Under the sponsorship programs, sponsors ink a contract with Canada’s immigration authorities to repay the government for any social assistance payments made to the sponsored person. Sponsors remain obligated to the undertaking agreement for the entire period of the contract, even in a change of circumstances such as marital breakdown, separation, divorce, or a financial change in circumstances.

In the case of a spouse, common-law partner or conjugal partner, a sponsor is required to sign an undertaking to reimburse the federal or provincial governments from the date in which they become a permanent resident for the period of three years.

In the case of a child under the age of 19 years, of the sponsor or the spouse, common-law partner, or conjugal partner, the obligation starts on the day that the child becomes a permanent resident of Canada for a period of 10 years or until the child reaches the age of 25 years.

In the case of a dependent child over the age of 19 years, the obligation starts on the day that the dependent child becomes a permanent resident, for a period of three years.

In the case of parents and grandparents, the sponsorship obligation extends for a period of 20 years from the date in which the member of the family class becomes a permanent resident. For all other family members, the obligation is of a duration of 10 years.

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