Operational Bulletin 386 – March 02, 2012
The Five-year Sponsorship Bar for Persons Who Were Sponsored to Come to Canada as a Spouse or Partner
The authorities have recently formulated a regulatory amendment. Under this regulatory amendment, the authorities can place a bar on a person from sponsoring a spouse or a partner for a five-year period. However, this bar will apply only to those individuals sponsored by another person as a spouse or a partner.
This Operational Bulletin (OB) informs officers of the regulatory amendment to Section 130 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations (IRPR). The regulatory amendment bars a sponsored spouse or partner from sponsoring a spouse or a partner. This bar will be in place for a duration of five years.
The Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA) has several objectives. One of them is to facilitate family reunification. Therefore, it permits Canadian citizens and Permanent Residents (PRs) to sponsor their spouse or partner as a Canadian Permanent Resident (PR).
Spousal sponsorship requires the sponsor to give an undertaking of financial responsibility for a spouse or partner. This undertaking is valid for three years. In some situations, the relationship could break down before the prescribed three-year period lapses. In this scenario, the sponsor remains financially responsible for the spouse or partner until the three-year term concludes. This is regardless of the causes for the breakdown of the relationship. In addition, the law does not permit a sponsor to sponsor a subsequent spouse or partner for the duration of the undertaking.
However, spousal sponsorships are prone to abuse. This could happen when individuals enter into non-bona fide relationships for obtaining status in Canada. Therefore, the authorities formulated the latest regulatory amendments. These amendments aim at creating a disincentive for a sponsored spouse or partner. They aim to prevent a sponsored spouse or partner from using a relationship of convenience to circumvent Canada’s immigration laws. A sponsored spouse or partner could do this by abandoning their sponsor as soon as they become a Permanent Resident (PR). Thereafter, these individuals could seek to sponsor another spouse or partner.
To remedy this, the authorities made an amendment to Section 130 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations (IRPR). The amendments enlist new criteria that an individual would need to meet for sponsoring a foreign national making an application for permanent residence as a member of the:
- Family class or,
- Spouse or common-law partner in Canada class
The Amended Provisions
Readers would need to note that the authorities have made no changes to the existing regulation 117 (9) (b). This regulation declares that a sponsor is ineligible to sponsor a spouse or a partner, if:
- The sponsor has an existing sponsorship undertaking (that concerns a previous spouse or partner) and,
- The period of this existing sponsorship undertaking has not concluded
The amended R130 includes:
- A minor editorial change to subsection (2) and,
- A new subsection (3) – which makes the five-year sponsorship bar applicable
Readers would need to note that the text in bold font denotes the changes or additions made. The new Regulation reads as follows:
130. (1) Subject to subsections (2) and (3), a sponsor, for the purpose of sponsoring a foreign national who makes an application for a permanent resident visa as a member of the family class or an application to remain in Canada as a member of the spouse or common-law partner in Canada class under subsection 13(1) of the Act, must be a Canadian citizen or permanent resident who:
- is at least 18 years of age;
- resides in Canada; and
- has filed a sponsorship application in respect of a member of the family class or the spouse or common-law partner in Canada class in accordance with section 10.
Sponsor not residing in Canada
(2) A sponsor who is a Canadian citizen and does not reside in Canada may sponsor a foreign national who makes an application referred to in subsection (1) and is the sponsor’s spouse, common-law partner, conjugal partner or dependent child who has no dependent children, if the sponsor will reside in Canada when the foreign national becomes a permanent resident.
(3) A sponsor who became a permanent resident after being sponsored as a spouse, common-law partner or conjugal partner under subsection 13(1) of the Act may not sponsor a foreign national referred to in subsection (1) as a spouse, common-law partner or conjugal partner, unless the sponsor
(a) has been a permanent resident for a period of at least five years immediately preceding the day on which a sponsorship application referred to in paragraph 130(1)(c) is filed by the sponsor in respect of the foreign national; or
(b) has become a Canadian citizen during the period of five years immediately preceding the day referred to in paragraph (a) and had been a permanent resident from at least the beginning of that period until the day on which the sponsor became a Canadian citizen.
This amendment came into force on March 02, 2012, upon registration. It bars a previously sponsored spouse or partner from sponsoring a spouse or partner within five years of becoming a Permanent Resident (PR). This is applicable even if the sponsor acquired citizenship during that period.
However, these regulatory amendments will have no effect on other members of the family class.
The Scenarios for Previously Sponsored Spouses or Partners
The table below highlights the scenarios for previously sponsored spouses or partners.
Date of Sponsorship Application
Eligibility to Sponsor
Receipt of the sponsorship application prior to the coming into force of the regulatory amendment
Not subject to the five-year sponsorship bar
This is regardless of the date when the sponsor became a Permanent Resident (PR)
Receipt of the sponsorship application on or following the day when the regulatory amendment came into force
Subject to the five-year sponsorship bar
Readers could obtain further information on this by going through the following operational manuals:
- IP 2 – The Processing Applications to Sponsor Members of the Family Class
- IP 8 – The Spouse and Common-law Partner in Canada Class
- OP 2 – The Processing Members of the Family Class and,
- OP 24 – The Overseas Processing of Family Members of In-Canada Applications for Permanent Residence
The authorities will be updating these above-mentioned operational manuals soon.
Source: Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC)