Sponsorship application approved for spouse in common-law relationship


Immigration Matters

Sukhram Ramkissoon

Sponsorship application approved for spouse in common-law relationship

Can  a person who lived in a common-law relationship with a Canadian citizen outside of Canada, be sponsored by his/ her spouse from within Canada?

That’s a question I have often been asked by persons in our Caribbean community.

The answer is yes.

But, of course, sponsorship is based on the criteria which have to be met by means of supportive documents with respect to the common-law relationship.

According to Canadian Immigration law, a common-law partner means, a person who is cohabiting with another person ” in a conjugal relationship, having so cohabited for a period of at least one year.”

However, the case law, in the context of common-law relationships, has determined that it is a marriage-like relationship and further has identified several characteristics or criteria as contained in case law pertaining to the same.

It is very important to note, that these criteria were developed in family law and adapted to all family class sponsorship applications.

Let’s  look at a recent sponsorship application in which sponsor and applicant were in a common-law relationship

The sponsor, Frank (not his  real name), is a Canadian citizen and the applicant, Grace, (not her real name), is a citizen of Trinidad and Tobago.

Grace travelled to Canada in September 2018 and was granted visitor’s status until March 2019.  She had travelled to Canada on previous occasions and was the  holder of a Canadian visitor’s visa which had expired.

Frank and Grace have been in a common-law relationship since 2007 back in Trinidad, and they share a child born in September 2009.  (Their child was granted Canadian citizenship by descent, as Frank was a Canadian citizen at the time of her birth.)

In November 2018, Frank and Grace consulted the writer who gave them advice  with respect to their personal situation and further provided instructions and sponsorship forms.

In late January 2019, my office submitted an application for permanent residence for Grace based on the common-law partner relationship, together with separate applications for the extension of her (Grace’s status ) and a work permit.

In March 2019,  she was issued medical instructions. She immediately complied and was also issued an employment authorization valid until March 2021.

In our submission, we noted that there was a “genuine relationship” that existed between Frank and Grace from 2007 and that they share a daughter who was born in 2009..

We also pointed out  that the couple continue to reside together in Canada and that  they are very closely attached, as a family unit  and have developed a very interdependent relationship.

We also provided supporting documents as proof of their cohabitation both in Trinidad and in Canada  along with photographs and letters from friends and family  as further  evidence of their long-term union

We  also  pointed out that because of their “loving and understanding relationship.”. they have developed a trust, commitment, and love for one another and do not wish to be separated.

Earlier this month the sponsor and applicant were requested to pay the Right of Permanent Residence fee of $490.00 and attend the Etobicoke IRCC office in Toronto.

Grace has happily informed our office that she has since received her Confirmation of Permanent Residence and that her Permanent Resident Card will be mailed to her within a few weeks.

Good luck Grace!

SUKHRAM RAMKISSOON is a member of ICCRC and specialise in Immigration Matters at No. 3089 Bathurst Street, Suite 219, Toronto, Ontario. Phone 416 789 5756.