Since Canada is invested in reuniting family members, the government has implemented procedures for citizens who wish to sponsor their spouse or family member and make a new life in the Great White North. It’s also one of the few countries that allow citizens to sponsor their same-sex partner to come live with them and become a permanent resident. There are two ways in which this is possible: common-law sponsorship or conjugal partner sponsorship.
These pathways to permanent residency allow couples, regardless of sexual orientation or identity, to enjoy life in one of the most welcoming and diverse countries in the world. However, the processes can get tricky because of the complications involved in the partner’s home country. Here are the three most common issues encountered when pursuing a spousal sponsorship application in Canada:
Insufficient or Lack of Legal Documentation
Same-sex couples are often subjected to high levels of scrutiny because they often cannot provide enough valid and verifiable documentation of their relationships, such as joint banking accounts or shared credit cards. This instance usually occurs because same-sex relationships, more so marriage, are frowned upon or even illegal in around 72 countries.
Couple sponsorship applications require proof of a relationship, which heterosexual couples typically have no trouble fulfilling because it’s legal around the world. However, this can be a problem for same-sex couples, especially if they preferred to keep their relationship away from the public eye to avoid discrimination, harassment, and punishment.
Proving Common-Law Status
Since same-sex marriage is illegal in many countries, same-sex couples choose to sponsor their significant other as a common-law partner instead of a spouse. However, they must first prove common-law status to pursue this option. The Canadian government defines a common-law partner as an individual that one must be living with or has lived with for at least 12 consecutive months in a relationship that resembles a marriage.
Given many countries’ hostility towards same-sex couples, this makes proving common-law status very difficult, as the pair may not have lived together thanks to the restrictive laws implemented in their home country. As such, same-sex couples may struggle in pursuing this path of sponsorship; however, consulting with immigration experts may uncover alternatives.
Lack of Evidence of the Relationship
As some countries discriminate against same-sex couples, they may have felt the need to shield their relationship from family members, friends, and the general public. They may have even pretended just to be friends when attending gatherings, so it may come as a surprise to other people to find out they are actually in a relationship.
However, the sponsorship application requires documentation to prove their relationship, including reference letters from coworkers, friends, and family. It can also include photos of the couple at social gatherings that demonstrate their intimacy, closeness, and existing, legitimate relationship. However, if the couple chooses not to disclose their ties to their friends and family out of fear of persecution, the documentation will be further complicated to acquire. As a result, the relationship is tricky to prove.
While Canada wants to keep family members and partners together as much as possible, there may be some roadblocks for same-sex couples due to the restrictive laws in their home country. Fortunately, immigration experts can help find ways to overcome these obstacles and reunite a couple for good.
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