Visa Crunch

Spouse, Partner Immigration To Canada Rebounded In 2021 To Pre-Pandemic Levels

After falling by nearly half during the peak of COVID-19 restrictions, Canada’s spouse sponsorship immigration numbers rebounded to pre-pandemic levels in 2021.

The year saw 64,200 wives and partners become permanent residents in Canada, a 78 per cent increase over the 36,055 entrants in the category in COVID-hit 2020, but roughly the same as the 2019 figure of 64,620 immigrants.

According to the newest federal government Immigration Levels Plan, with a target of 80,000 spouses, partners, and children in 2022, the figures are projected to exceed anything seen in Canada before.

Prior to the implementation of COVID-19, Canada had seen a steady increase in spouse and partner immigration, from slightly over 46,000 in 2015 to almost 65,000 in 2019. Consequently, as with all other immigration categories, numbers fell in 2020 when borders were closed and international travel was banned in order to prevent the spread of the deadly illness.

The spousal reunion was one of many immigration streams that faced considerable delays as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak. However, Immigration Minister Sean Fraser stated in January that the stream was among the first to return to the 12-month processing standard.

Several categories, such as those for Federal Highly Skilled Workers, continue to have processing timeframes that are well in excess of the service requirement.

Furthermore, Canada just introduced a new application tracker for family sponsorship applicants to check the status of their immigration cases. The tracker is only available for permanent residents in the spouse, partner, and dependent child categories at the time of its initial rollout in February.

Applicants for permanent residence in the family sponsorship categories can now check the status of their applications using this tracker.

“This new tool will allow people to easily check their application status online, and is available for spousal, partners or dependent children categories,” tweeted Fraser at the time. “We’re also working to provide a similar tracker for other programs.”

Who Is Eligible To Sponsor Their Spouse, Common-Law or Conjugal Partner?

Sponsors must:

  • Be at least 18 years old.
  • Be a Canadian citizen, permanent resident, or a person registered in Canada as an Indian under the Canadian Indian Act.
  • Canadian citizens living outside Canada must show they plan to live in Canada when the sponsored person(s) become permanent residents.
  • Permanent residents living outside Canada cannot be sponsors.
  • Be able to prove they are not receiving social assistance for reasons other than a disability.
  • Be able to provide for the basic needs of those being sponsored.

The person being sponsored and their family members must pass background, security and medical checks.


  • A spouse can be of either sex and must be:
  • Legally married to the sponsor.
  • At least 18 years old.
  • Common-Law Partner

A common-law partner can be either sex and must:

  • Be not legally married to the sponsor.
  • Be at least 18 years old.
  • Have been living with the sponsor for at least 12 consecutive months in a conjugal relationship without any long periods apart.

Proof of a common-law relationship includes:

  • Shared ownership of residential property.
  • Joint leases or rental agreements.
  • Bills for shared utility accounts.
  • Important documents showing the same address, such as driver’s licenses or insurance policies.
  • Identification documents.
  • Conjugal Partner

A conjugal partner can be either sex and must:

  • Be not legally married or in a common-law relationship with the sponsor.
  • Be at least 18 years old.
  • Have been in a relationship with the sponsor for at least 1 year.
  • Live outside Canada.
  • Be not able to live with the sponsor in their country of residence or marry the sponsor because of significant legal and immigration reasons, such as marital status, sexual orientation or persecution.

Legal Disclaimer: This article is provided for information purposes only.

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