As part of its family sponsorship program, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) allows Canadian citizens and permanent residents to sponsor their spouse, common law partner, conjugal partner, dependents, parents, and grandparents to become permanent residents of Canada.
The IRCC permits certain individuals to sponsor extended family members to come to Canada as permanent residents, whether they are related by blood or adoption and regardless of their age. The “Other Relative Program” is also known as the “Lonely Canadian Program,” as it is more loosely referred to.
There may be times when a Canadian citizen or permanent resident living alone in Canada does not have immediate family members to sponsor. A family member may have passed away or that individual may have never married or taken a partner.
In order to promote family reunification in Canada, the IRCC allows these individuals to sponsor any extended family member to come to Canada as a permanent resident.
With the “Lonely Canadian Program” offering a wide range of family members who can sponsor, the IRCC must strictly regulate who can sponsor under this program. We do this to prevent people from taking advantage of the program.
As a sponsor, you must meet the usual requirements. The sponsor must:
Additionally, the sponsor must demonstrate that they do not have any core family members (i.e., spouse, common-law partner, conjugal partner, children, parents, grandparents) who are Canadian citizens or permanent residents; or foreign nationals who can be sponsored.
This program is reserved for those rare cases of “lonely Canadians” who have no family or friends in Canada or who have no one else to sponsor in order to come to Canada. IRCC will not consider you as a “lonely Canadian” if you have core family members who are Canadian citizens or permanent residents. On the other hand, if you have core family members who are foreign nationals and can be sponsored, IRCC will have you sponsor them instead.
To qualify as a sponsor, you must have a minimum necessary income (MNI) that is appropriate to your family size.
In general, if the conditions to become a sponsor are met, then – as stated earlier – you can sponsor any extended family member, regardless of age, related by blood or adoption.
There are even limited circumstances in which Canadian citizens or permanent residents can sponsor extended family members along with their core family members. If you qualify as a “lonely Canadian” and you wish to sponsor your uncle, the spouse and children of your uncle may be included on his application as his dependents. His children must, however, be eligible for dependency. Otherwise, they will have to apply themselves.
You can only sponsor extended family members who are related by blood or adoption. For example, you cannot sponsor your in-laws as the principal applicant. Through this program, your in-laws can become permanent residents only if they are listed as a dependent in the application of the extended family member you are sponsoring.
Although this program is generous, it can be difficult to navigate. It’s best to seek advice only from a Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant.