Last Updated on September 9, 2019
Sep 09, 2019 – A new pilot program to allow certain candidates to sponsor undeclared immediate family members for Canada immigration opened on September 9, 2019.
The two-year family sponsorship immigration pilot is aimed at refugees and those who were themselves sponsored as a spouse, partner or dependent child.
It stems from a requirement for immigration candidates to declare all their family members on their application when applying to Canada – including those who are not accompanying them.
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Failure to declare a family member results in a lifetime ban on the principal applicant being able to sponsor that family member in the future.
“For various reasons, including lack of awareness or lack of knowledge of a family member’s whereabouts in a conflict situation, many newcomers failed to declare some family members on their application,” said an Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada statement.
The new pilot addresses this ‘unintended consequence’, IRCC said.
For two years from September 9, “a person conferred refugee protection in Canada, or a person who was sponsored as a spouse, partner or dependent child themselves, will be able to sponsor undeclared immediate family members (a spouse, partner or dependent child).”
IRCC hopes the measure will help family reunification, and stop the penalizing of dependants who were not declared, through no fault of their own.
The pilot has been limited to refugees and those who were sponsored as a close family member “to uphold program integrity and ensure that this pilot project doesn’t make the system vulnerable to fraud and misrepresentation,” IRCC said.
Applications that are already in process will also benefit from this pilot project.
The pilot was one of three initiatives introduced on May 31 aimed at protecting vulnerable immigration candidates.
The other two were aimed at vulnerable workers and newcomers who face family abuse.
1) Vulnerable workers
As of June 4, 2019, migrant workers on an employer-specific work permit facing an abusive job situation in Canada can apply for an open work permit.
The change allows the worker to leave the abusive employer immediately and find another job without fear of losing their status.
When an application is approved for an open work permit for a vulnerable worker, the employer also faces an inspection.
2) Newcomers who face family abuse
As of July 26, 2019, newcomers who are victims of family violence can apply for a fee-exempt temporary resident permit to give them legal immigration status in Canada. The status includes a work permit and health care coverage.
IRCC is also expediting the process for those in urgent family violence situations who apply for permanent residence on humanitarian and compassionate grounds.
The expedited temporary resident permit process for victims of family violence is only available to foreign nationals in Canada who have not yet obtained their permanent residence and whose status in Canada is dependent on their abusive spouse or partner.
It is not available to foreign nationals outside Canada.