Subsequent public policy to facilitate the immigration of certain sponsored foreign nationals excluded under paragraph 117(9)(d) or 125(1)(d) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations
When a person applies to become a permanent resident, they are required to declare all of their family members (spouse, common-law partner, dependent children, dependent child of a dependent child), even if they are not accompanying the principal applicant to Canada. In most cases, they also need to be examined. This is so that departmental officials have all relevant information to make a decision on a permanent residence application and can ensure that these family members would not make the principal applicant ineligible or inadmissible.
In the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations (the Regulations), the consequence for failing to have a non-accompanying family member examined is a lifetime bar on being able to sponsor that family member, as per paragraphs 117(9)(d) and 125(1)(d) of the Regulations. These regulations were put in place to encourage full disclosure by immigration applicants, to enhance the overall integrity of Family Class immigration, and to protect the health, safety and security of Canadians.
Stakeholders and the House of Commons Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration have expressed concerns related to the disproportionate impact of the lifetime bar, particularly on children. In order to address these concerns, the Department implemented a pilot project via a public policy on September 9, 2019.
The pilot was originally intended to last for two years to allow the Department to monitor and assess the number of cases, the types of situations that come forward, and to ensure no significant issues arise. However, the unprecedented circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic created unforeseen challenges that has affected analysis of the public policy. Consequently, to allow for continued facilitation of these cases and further monitoring it is necessary to put in place a subsequent public policy that will come into effect when the original policy expires.
Public Policy Considerations
A subsequent public policy with the same eligibility criteria will allow the Department to continue to facilitate the immigration into Canada of certain foreign nationals applying in the Family Class or the Spouse or Common-Law Partner in Canada class and whose sponsor applied for, and obtained permanent resident status as a Convention refugee or a person in similar circumstances, as a protected person or who were sponsored as a spouse, a common-law partner, a conjugal partner or a dependent child. These foreign nationals, if they comply with the below specified conditions, will be exempted from paragraph 117(9)(d) or 125(1)(d) of the Regulations.
These foreign nationals are the most vulnerable populations impacted by the sponsorship bar, and to continue granting them an exemption represents a minimal risk to program integrity. The low program integrity risk in this case is due to the fact that these family members would not have been subject to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (the Act) provisions on excessive demand on health or social services and in most cases they would not have been subject to any income requirements. Consequently, these family members would have had limited impact on the success of the sponsor’s permanent resident application.
The public policy does not allow the sponsorship of family members who, based on their relationship to their sponsor, would have made that person ineligible to immigrate to Canada in the program under which they applied.
As such, I hereby establish that, pursuant to my authority under section 25.2 of the Act, there are public policy considerations that justify continuation of the granting of an exemption from the application of paragraph 117(9)(d) or 125(1)(d) of the Regulations to foreign nationals who meet the conditions (eligibility requirements) listed below.
Conditions (Eligibility Requirements)
Based on public policy considerations, delegated officers may grant an exemption from the requirements of the provisions of the Regulations listed below to a foreign national who meets all of the following conditions (eligibility requirements):
- The foreign national has applied as a spouse or a common-law partner in the Spouse or Common-Law Partner in Canada class or as a spouse, a common-law partner, a conjugal partner or a dependent child in the Family Class;
- The foreign national has a sponsor who applied for and was granted permanent residence status:
- As a Convention refugee or a person in similar circumstances; or,
- After having been determined to be a protected person; or,
- As a sponsored spouse, common-law partner, conjugal partner, or dependent child as a member or the Family Class; or,
- As a sponsored spouse or common-law partner as a member of the Spouse or Common-Law Partner in Canada Class.
- The foreign national, if declared and examined at the time their sponsor immigrated to Canada, would not have made their sponsor ineligible for the permanent residence in one of the above-mentioned the class in which the sponsor applied for and was granted permanent residence.
Requirements of the provisions of the Regulations for which an exemption may be granted:
- Paragraph 117(9)(d) - A foreign national shall not be considered a member of the family class by virtue of their relationship to a sponsor if the sponsor previously made an application for permanent residence and became a permanent resident and, at the time of that application, the foreign national was a non-accompanying family member of the sponsor and was not examined.
- Paragraph 125(1)(d) of the Regulations - A foreign national shall not be considered a member of the spouse or common-law partner in Canada class by virtue of their relationship to a sponsor if the sponsor previously made an application for permanent residence and became a permanent resident and, at the time of that application, the foreign national was a non-accompanying family member of the sponsor and was not examined.
All admissibility provisions and other eligibility requirements not exempted above are applicable.
Fees: Where applicable, the standard fees for processing applications in the Family Class or the Spouse or Common-law Partner in Canada Class must be paid.
For applicants whose sponsor resides in the province of Quebec, the requirement to have a sponsor who has given a sponsorship undertaking to the Government of Quebec continues to apply.
Start Date and End Date: This public policy takes effect on September 9, 2021, the expiration date of Public Policy to Facilitate the Immigration of Certain Sponsored Foreign Nationals Excluded under Paragraph 117(9)(d) or 125(1)(d) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations, and ends on September 9, 2023. Applications where a final decision has not been made before September 9, 2021 will be processed under this public policy. As with all public policies, this public policy may be cancelled at any time.
Minister of Citizenship and Immigration
Dated at Ottawa, August 14, 2021
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