Conditional permanent residence for sponsored spouses and common-law partners

Conditional permanent residence for sponsored spouses and common-law partners.

Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) has introduced amendments to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations (the Regulations) which specify that spouses, common-law or conjugal partners who are in a relationship with their sponsor for two years or less and have no children in common with their sponsor at the time of the sponsorship application are subject to a period of conditional permanent residence. The condition requires the sponsored spouse or partner to cohabit in a conjugal relationship with their sponsor for a period of two years after the day on which they became a permanent resident. The conditional measure only applies to permanent residents whose applications are received on or after the day that the amendments came into force, which was on October 25, 2012.

The sponsored spouse or partner may have accompanying family members or may, after being granted permanent residence, in turn sponsor members of the family class; however, the sponsored spouse or partner is barred from sponsoring a new spouse or partner for a period of five years. In such instances, the permanent resident status of those accompanying family members and sponsored members of the family class is contingent upon their sponsor meeting the condition. Apart from the requirement that the sponsored spouse or partner satisfy the condition, conditional permanent residence does not differ from permanent residence in any other way.

The condition ends after the two-year period has elapsed. There are two exceptions to the application of the condition. It ceases to apply when there is evidence that the sponsor has died during the two-year period of conditional permanent residence. Given concerns about the vulnerability of spouses and partners in abusive relationships, the condition also ceases to apply in instances where there is evidence of abuse or neglect from the sponsor, or of a failure by the sponsor to protect from abuse or neglect by another person related to the sponsor (whether the perpetrator is residing in the household or not) during the conditional period. For both exceptions, the sponsored spouse or partner must have lived together in a conjugal relationship with the sponsor up until the cohabitation ceased as a result of the death of the sponsor, or of abuse or neglect.

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