Certain family members are entitled to apply for status in Canada because they are related to a Canadian citizen or permanent resident. The following people, who are defined as members of the family class, may apply under this category:
There are certain differences in how the above immigrants are treated by Immigration Canada in terms of the strict application of certain rules. For example, spouses receive special treatment with regard to income levels and medical admissibility, which can make sponsoring a spouse easier than sponsoring other members of the family class. However, there have been changes to spousal sponsorships, including prohibitions on future sponsorships and a requirement for the sponsored spouse to live with their sponsor for two years or risk losing their permanent residence.
The requirement for the sponsor of an immigrant is that they must be 18 years of age or more, must be a Canadian citizen or permanent resident, must either live in Canada or intend to live in Canada, must undertake to care for the immigrant’s essential needs, and must meet the low income cut-off requirements. This is an income figure which is deemed to be the level of yearly income, minus certain debts, required to support an immigrant. The income figure is strictly adhered to. Sponsorship undertakings are of varying lengths, according to the relative who is being sponsored, and are rigidly upheld by the Canadian government, should the sponsored relative later receive social assistance.
Certain people, such as those who are bankrupt or in default of previous sponsorship undertakings, are not eligible to act as a sponsor.
There are also provisions for sponsoring certain relatives from inside Canada, as opposed to applications which must be submitted to Canadian Consulates outside of Canada.
An immigrant who is sponsored under the family class is not assessed on the point system, but must pass criminal and medical checks, with some exceptions.