Pilot program to exempt permanent residence applicants in the family class or the spouse or common-law partner in Canada (SCLPC) class from paragraph R117(9)(d) or R125(1)(d) exclusion

Foreign nationals applying to immigrate to Canada are required to both declare and have all of their family members (spouse or common-law partner and children) examined, even if those family members are not accompanying the principal applicant.

Failure to have a non-accompanying family member examined results in a lifetime exclusion in being able to sponsor that person under the family class or the spouse or common-law partner in Canada (SCLPC) class, per paragraph R117(9)(d) or R125(1)(d) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations.

To address potential concerns about the impact this provision may have on families, the Government of Canada introduced a 2-year pilot project via a temporary public policy to facilitate the immigration of certain sponsored foreign nationals excluded under paragraph R117(9)(d) or R125(1)(d). This public policy was announced by the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship on May 31, 2019, and was originally planned to be in effect from September 9, 2019 to September 9, 2021.

However, the impact of COVID-19 on the processing of applications, as well as the results of an analysis of the pilot, has warranted extending the pilot by implementing a subsequent public policy for an additional 2 years, effective September 10, 2021.

This public policy will be in effect from September 10, 2021 to September 9, 2023. The temporary public policy applies to all of the following applications:

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All of the following requirements must be met for the public policy to apply and to exempt applicants from the paragraph R117(9)(d) or R125(1)(d) exclusion:

Dependent children have to meet the definition of a dependent child per the lock-in date policy. For family class applications, the age lock-in date is the date their application for permanent residence is received by the department.

For applicants whose sponsor resides in the province of Quebec, the sponsorship undertaking must be approved by the Government of Quebec’s Ministère de l’Immigration, de la Francisation et de l’Intégration (MIFI).

Cases where the public policy does not apply

The public policy does not apply if the applicant is already exempt from the paragraph R117(9)(d) or R125(1)(d) exclusion as a result of the exception in subsection R117(10) or R125(2), where an officer has determined that under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, or the former Act, the foreign national was not required to be examined.

The public policy does not apply if the sponsor was granted permanent residence status under any other immigration category not specified by the public policy, including any of the following:

  1. any of the economic classes
  2. other members of the family class (such as parents and grandparents and their dependent children, orphaned relatives and other relatives)
  3. permit holder class
  4. permanent residence from within Canada based on humanitarian and compassionate (H&C) grounds

The public policy does not apply if the foreign national, if declared and examined at the time their sponsor immigrated to Canada, would have made their sponsor ineligible in the class under which the sponsor applied. For example, if the sponsor

Note: Family members of sponsors who came to Canada as privately sponsored refugees should not be excluded from this public policy on the basis that the existence of this family member would have meant that their sponsors would have had to meet higher financial requirements.

Sponsorship eligibility assessment of family class applications

If the case processing centre officer notices that an applicant may be excluded pursuant to paragraph R117(9)(d) or R125(1)(d), when completing the sponsorship eligibility assessment for family class or SCLPC class applications, they should add a note in the Global Case Management System (GCMS) so that the responsible office processing the permanent residence application will be aware.

Processing of permanent residence applications

All other eligibility and admissibility requirements apply to the permanent residence application being processed.

If the paragraph R117(9)(d) or R125(1)(d) public policy applies, the application may still be refused if other refusal grounds apply. Refusal letters should mention all refusal grounds that apply and whether the applicant qualified for the public policy, if applicable.

Transitional cases

The public policy applies to applications that were still in process as of May 31, 2019.

Also, officers should reconsider applications refused on or after May 31, 2019, and before the instructions on the pilot project were provided on September 6, 2019, and where the only refusal ground was paragraph R117(9)(d) or R125(1)(d) where the re-assessment has been requested by the refused applicant.

The public policy also applies if an appeal before the Immigration Appeal Division or a judicial review at the Federal Court has been allowed and an application has been sent back to IRCC for a new decision between May 31, 2019, and September 9, 2023.

Appeals before the Immigration Appeal Division

The public policy does not apply to applications that were refused before May 31, 2019, and that are being appealed at the Immigration Appeal Division of the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada. The appellant can withdraw the appeal and submit a new sponsorship application, in which case the temporary public policy may apply if the public policy requirements are met and if the public policy is in effect.

Investigation due to possible misrepresentation

As other admissibility provisions are applicable, IRCC and Canada Border Services Agency officers may investigate individuals who may be inadmissible due to misrepresentation, if there are grounds to believe they have misrepresented material facts relating to a relevant matter that induce or could induce an error in the administration of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act. Misrepresentation could include failing to declare dependent children or a spouse or a common-law partner who would have made the individual ineligible or inadmissible to Canada when they applied for permanent residence.

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