Immigration Minister Chris Alexander has announced plans to welcome nearly 50,000 sponsored partners, spouses and children in 2014.
In its annual immigration target levels report released last month, Citizenship and Immigration Canada indicated that 68,000 of an approximate total 260,000 immigration spots will be reserved for family sponsorships – 48,000 of those will be spouse and children sponsorships, while 20,000 are designated for parents and grandparents.
The government has also changed some of the key regulations surrounding spousal sponsorship, particularly in introducing a new conditional residency status requiring partners or spouses to live together for two years upon arrival in Canada before the sponsored partner can obtain their permanent residency.
Additionally, the government will not allow applicants who have arrived as sponsored partners to themselves sponsor another partner within a five-year time span.
Officials say that both of the above changes are intended to minimize cases of marriage fraud, but they have stirred controversy – particularly the two-year residence requirement that might coerce battered spouses to stay with their abusers, as they would have no other claim to legal status in Canada.
Though the government has announced a quota of 5,000 on new parent and grandparent applications in 2014, there are currently no quotas on partner and child sponsorship cases for next year.
Sources: Citizenship and Immigration Canada