Immigration department regulations create barriers for Canadian sponsors

Why must our immigration department continue to process the applications for permanent residence of members of the family class after their Canadian sponsors have withdrawn their sponsorships?

Our immigration laws establish selection criteria designed to provide some benefit to Canada, i.e., by attracting to Canada people who can invest money in our economy, create jobs for Canadians, or bring skills to Canada that are in short supply.

In contrast, members of the family class are not selected for their ability to contribute to our economy but are instead selected for the sole purpose of allowing Canadian citizens or permanent residents to be reunited with their close relatives. Sponsors must assume financial responsibility for their relatives for a period of either three or 10 years.


Logic suggests that if, for whatever reason, a sponsor changes his or her mind about assuming this responsibility prior to the foreign relative becoming a permanent resident, they should be able to simply withdraw their support.

Surprisingly, that is not the case.

Readers of this column know that family class sponsorships involve two major steps. The first one takes place in Canada and relates to the qualifications of the sponsor. The second stage relates to the processing of the application for permanent residence filed by the foreigner, either in Canada or at a visa post abroad.

When a sponsor withdraws their sponsorship during the first stage, there is usually no problem. The sponsor may lose the $75 sponsorship fee but will receive a refund of the $475 fee paid to process the application for permanent residence of their relative.

If, on the other hand, the processing of the application for permanent residence has begun then it’s an entirely different story. In such a case, the departments policy is that “an undertaking is not automatically withdrawn upon the request of the sponsor; the CPC [Case Processing Centre] must agree to the withdrawal.”

In addition, the department will not recognize a withdrawal,

• with respect to a spouse or common-law partner in Canada case, before the department enters a “final decision” into its computer system; or

• with respect to an overseas sponsorship, after a permanent resident visa has been issued.

Why must a Canadian sponsor stand helplessly, under any circumstances, as our immigration department persists in conferring permanent residence status upon a foreigner that our selection system hasn’t selected and after their Canadian sponsor has withdrawn their support?

Guidy Mamann is the senior lawyer at Mamann & Associates and is certified by the Law Society as an immigration specialist. Direct confidential questions to