Husband allowed to apply for permanent resident despite spouse being on social assistance

By Sukhram Ramkissoon

According to Canadian Immigration Law everyone has a right to seek an exemption in making an application for humanitarian and compassionate considerations for permanent status from within Canada. But before doing so, there must be sufficient compelling factors for an immigration officer to assess whether such exemption should be granted.

Let us examine a recent case in which an exemption was granted.  For the purposes of the article, I will refer to the applicant as Mike (not his real name) who is from Jamaica.  We acted for Mike and submitted a humanitarian application on his behalf, as it was in our opinion he falls within these legislative requirements for consideration as a permanent resident.

Mike last entered Canada in July 2012 and was granted status as a visitor, he then applied for several extensions of his status and the last was granted until August 18, 2014. He remained in Canada continuously and in March 2013, he applied for permanent residence under humanitarian grounds, but was refused in late 2013. He remained continuously in Canada without any status.

In late 2020, Mike and his family conferred with me and provided some background information about himself and his common law spouse, a permanent resident of Canada. I advised that before I can proceed with any type of application, I must first ascertain information about his immigration history in Canada and likewise about his common law partner. I was also informed that he has been residing with his common law partner for many years and that she has two children of her own born in Canada and she is also the mother of his three-year-old son. Mike has a very close relationship with his stepchildren as their father is not in their lives and he was a father figure to these children. They also noted that his partner was on social assistance.

In December 2021, my office submitted a humanitarian application addressing the ineligibility of Mike’s partner to sponsor him, among other factors. In our submissions we addressed the various documents, statements, letters of support, proof of relationship, and best interests of the child and requested the utmost humanity in his case. There is a genuine relationship that was created, and the ineligibility of Mike’s partner should not be considered a negative factor, based on her reasons. Severe hardships would be suffered if there was a separation, and it would not be in the best interests of the children who will be directly affected by this decision.

Some of the facts Mike submitted in his personal statement were the following:

  • He apologizes for working without legal authorization and for remaining in Canada without valid temporary status
  • He is one of six children and while growing up in Jamaica, it was very hard and challenging for him and his family
  • His father was not present in his life at an early age. Growing up without a father was hard and he experienced many difficulties
  • Because he grew up in a single-parent home, many necessities were not available, such as running water, light clothing, or shoes. His mother could not provide food at times, and many nights he went to bed without dinner
  • And because of these financial difficulties, he did not attend school on a regular basis and therefore could not perform like the other children in his age group
  • Watching his mother struggle gave him the incentive to provide a stable and loving home for his child and stepchildren. He understands first-hand the struggles a single-parent experiences, as there were times when he and his siblings went without food for days or seeing his mother make the decision when the food should be eaten (i.e.) dinner or breakfast
  • Because of their financial situation, he could not attend classes every day, but managed to become a Mechanic at the age of fifteen (15) years old, and he was able to earn a living and help his mother
  • Mike and his spouse have been in a long-term relationship and living together since October 2014. They share a son born in December 2016. His spouse is a recipient of social assistance where she receives monthly support and with those monies, she buys food, pays rent, buys clothing, and defrays other bills
  • He works part-time, off the books, and uses his earnings to assist in his family’s upkeep
  • His spouse is unable to sponsor him under the inland sponsorship stream as she is ineligible since she is in receivership of social assistance
  • Mike is determined to be the best father and support system to his son and stepchildren, as he and his spouse have created a happy home for them, with structure and stability.

Given Mike’s overall circumstances, we submitted that there is sufficient evidence of hardships he would face, if required to apply from abroad or to leave Canada, taking into account the best interests of the children who will be directly affected by this decision.  Last month our office received a letter on Mike’s behalf, indicating that his application was approved and that he must now meet other statutory requirements, such as security, etc. 

Congratulations Mike!

SUKHRAM RAMKISSOON is a member of CICC and specialises in immigration matters at No. 3089 Bathurst Street, Suite 219A, Toronto, Ontario. Phone 416 789 5756.