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Immigration Corner | What's the fastest route?

Published:Monday | January 16, 2017 | 12:00 AM
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Dear Ms Powell,

I got married to a Jamaican man over the Christmas holidays. What is the fastest route to get him to become a permanent resident of Canada? My husband is a professional and I heard that professionals can get permanent residence in six months.

My neighbour said that her sponsorship application was submitted in 2013 and that she has not yet got through. She said that even though she submitted details of her relationship from the beginning, Immigration Refugee and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has been asking for more proof, even though they are married. She is very stressed out by the process and I'm looking for the simplest route. She also said that there are new rules for sponsorship applications. I already completed the forms for sponsorship. I'm not sure if I should send them in or let my husband apply for express entry. What is the difference between the two processes and which is quicker?

- W.J.


Dear W.J.,

Immigration Refugee and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) announced changes to the family sponsorship application in December 2016. The new changes are expected to reduce the processing time for applications. Canada is committed to family reunification and so they are hoping that the applications will now be processed within 12 months.

Every case is different, and, therefore, the processing time will depend on the facts surrounding your case and the complexity. It is your duty to ensure that you submit properly completed application forms and supporting evidence in order to avoid delay with your application.

There will be a transitioning period from the old system to the new. Therefore, applicants who have already completed the old forms and used the old kits, may submit their application. Applications submitted using the old forms and kits must be received on or before January 31, 2017.

The IRCC staff will review the application for completeness only. If your application is returned due to missing information, or otherwise, you will be required to resubmit your application using the new forms and new checklists.

To help you make the decision about the best option to follow, consider the information below.

The new application process for sponsorship of family members is considered to be simpler than the previous one. There is one straightforward application guide, and the number of forms to be completed has been reduced significantly. There is no need to do an upfront medical or submit police certificates until later in the process. Once notified, you will have 30 days in which to do your medical examination and obtain police records from all the countries where your husband has spent most of his adult life, since the age of 18, if this country is different from the country where he is living. You should also note that there are currently no country-specific questionnaires for Jamaica.




Another important factor to consider is that if you and your spouse have been in a relationship of two years or less and do not have children in common at the time of submitting the sponsorship application, your spouse will be granted conditional permanent residence.

That means that you and your sponsored spouse must cohabit in a legitimate relationship for two years from the day on which he receives his permanent resident status in Canada. If he does not remain in the relationship, the permanent resident status could be revoked. There are, however, certain exceptions to this rule.

It is, therefore, very important to document your relationship clearly and provide all the necessary documents to show that you have a genuine relationship. The key is to submit documents such as proof of joint ownership of property, joint leases/rental agreement, utilities' bills, photographs of the wedding ceremony and of your joint activities, documents showing the same address, and other proof that your relationship is recognised by your friends and family. Letters, text messages, emails, airline tickets, boarding passes, a photocopy of passport pages showing entry and exit stamps of visits are also highly recommended. Social media information demonstrating your public relationship is also acceptable proof.

You will also be financially responsible for your spouse for a minimum of three years and will be required to submit an undertaking to support him. That also means that your spouse should not require social assistance during that period, and if social assistance is given, you will have a duty to repay the government.

The express entry system was launched in January 2015. It is a management system for individuals who would like to be granted permanent residence status in Canada based on Canada's economic immigration programmes. These economic programmes are designed for individuals who qualify under the Federal Skilled Worker Programme, the Federal Skilled Trades Programme, Canadian Experience Class and a portion of the Provincial Nominee Programme. This is locally called self-sponsorship.

The express entry system was designed to work in tandem with Canada's economic plan and their responsiveness to labour market and regional needs. The programme has undergone significant changes since its inception, and most applications have been processed within six months after all the relevant documentation has been submitted to IRCC.

The express entry system is highly competitive and individuals are selected based on the Comprehensive Ranking Scores. Scores are given based on factors such as age, level of education, language ability, education, work experience, provincial nomination, and qualifying job offer.

- Deidre S. Powell is a lawyer, mediator, and notary public. Send your questions or comments to Find her on