Spouses and common-law partners immigrated to Canada in almost exactly the same numbers in July as they did in the previous month as the immigration program continues on track to end this year up by 33.7 per cent over last year.

The latest data from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) reveals Canada welcomed 6,215 new permanent residents through spousal sponsorship immigration in July, virtually the same level as the 6,220 in June.

By the end of July, Canada had opened its doors to 50,015 new permanent residents through this immigration program, up 21.6 per cent from the 41,145 new permanent residents who arrived through spousal sponsorships in the first seven months of 2022.

Projecting out from the current trend, Canada is poised to receive 85,740 new permanent residents from spousal sponsorships, a 33.7 per cent increase from the 64,145 immigrants who arrived in Canada through the immigration program last year.

That projected level of spousal sponsorship immigration would be higher than the level set by Ottawa for spousal sponsorships for this year.

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In its Immigration Levels Plan 2023 – 2025, Ottawa has already set an upper limit of 84,000 new permanent residents under programs to sponsor spouses, partners and children. The target for this year for that category of immigrants is 78,000 new permanent residents.

Canada’s most populous province, Ontario, saw the greatest number of arrivals under the spousal sponsorship program with 26,270 spouses making it their home in the first seven months of this year.

The other provinces and territories attracted the following number of new permanent residents under the spousal sponsorship program during that period:

  • Newfoundland and Labrador – 110
  • Prince Edward Island – 90
  • Nova Scotia – 570
  • New Brunswick – 335
  • Quebec – 5,335
  • Manitoba – 1,375
  • Saskatchewan – 860
  • Alberta – 6,430
  • British Columbia – 8,545
  • Yukon – 55
  • Northwest Territories – 35
  • Nunavut – 5

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 give financial support for the sponsored person’s basic needs, including:

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

This agreement cannot be cancelled, even if:

  • the person sponsored 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 experiences financial problems.

EI Payments Considered Income For Sponsor Of Spouse

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

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

According to that website, the current processing time for sponsorship applications for spouses or common-law partners currently outside the country and planning to live outside of Quebec is now down to 13 months, a considerable improvement over the 20-month processing time last year.

That estimated processing time includes:

  • the time needed to provide biometrics;
  • the assessment of the sponsor and the person being sponsored, and;
  • the time immigration officials need to ensure the sponsor and his or her spouse or common-law partner meet the eligibility requirements.

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