CANADA (Oct. 1, 2019) – Pilot program allows sponsorship of undeclared family members


What is the change? A two-year pilot program has been introduced to allow previously undeclared or excluded dependent family members to immigrate to Canada.

What does the change mean? Foreign nationals under the family class or the spouse or common-law partner in Canada (SPLPC) class will be eligible to apply for permanent residence until Sept. 9, 2021, in situations where the primary applicant did not declare the dependent in the initial application.

  • Effective date: Sept. 9, 2019 – Sept. 9, 2021.  
  • Visas/permits affected: Permanent residence for dependents.
  • Who is affected: Foreign nationals under the SPLPC class (a spouse, partner or dependent child)

Background: Previously, foreign dependents who were not declared at the time of their family member’s initial application were considered non-accompanying family members and therefore not eligible to apply for lifetime permanent residence. The pilot program, announced on May 31, allows previously excluded spouses, partners or dependent children to apply for permanent residence. The program is limited to those who initially immigrated to Canada under refugee or close family member status and are now seeking to sponsor undeclared family members.

Analysis & Comments: The change is good news for individuals who originally immigrated to Canada but failed to declare family members. Although this is a positive step toward family reunification, the pilot program does not include undeclared or unexamined dependents where the initial application was filed under one of the economic categories. More information on the pilot program can be found here.

This alert was prepared by Garson LLP, an independent law firm, allied with Deloitte LLP in Canada.