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Rick Howat has recently assumed the position of V.P. Marketing and Development with First Entrepreneur Enterprises, developing and promoting business immigration programs in Canada. (more details at the bottom)

Family Class Sponsorships

The “Family Class” of immigrants has long been a preferred means to bring family members to Canada who would otherwise be ineligible for permanent residence. This “Class” of immigrants is restricted to spouses, fiancé (s), parents, grandparents and dependent children. This means that you cannot sponsor brothers or sisters unless they are included in a sponsorship of your parents as dependants. This can include overage (19 years of age or over) siblings if they have maintained their educational pursuits on a full time basis – provided no more than a lapse of one year has occurred during the continuation of their formal education.

In order to sponsor family members for permanent residence in Canada within this class, you must meet a “Low Income Cut Off” (or LICO).  You can find general details at  or if you wish to go directly to the “Family Class” website, you can do so at The LICO amount needed is dependent on the number of members presently in your family in addition to the number of the persons sponsored. The sponsor must present an annual income to immigration authorities i.e. from employment, interest or investment income etc. The presentation of “general assets” to demonstrate you have the financial means to support your sponsored family members will not be accepted as the Immigration Department only accepts annual income, as shown on the sponsor’s Notice of Assessment, issued by the Canada Customs and Revenue Agency (CCRA).

For many countries of Southeast Asia (India, Singapore, Malaysia and Taiwan to name a few), Citizenship and Immigration Canada has initiated a new process or “joint application package” in an effort to streamline Family Class sponsorships. The new application package includes a sponsorship form, an immigrant application form and a medical form. This sponsorship package is only available to sponsors in Canada. With this process, the sponsor  sends the application forms to the relative(s) abroad. The completed application is returned to the sponsor with all supporting documents. The sponsor will then submit the application to the Case Processing Centre in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada. To further speed up processing, the sponsored relative(s) should complete the medical examination before the application is submitted to the Case Processing Centre. This new and streamlined sponsorship process does not apply to children who are to be adopted.

Citizenship and Immigration Canada states that “half of the applications submitted under this new process will be randomly selected for appraisal in Canada”. The applications that are correctly completed and free of complications will be processed to visa issuance, within Canada. Applications deemed to require personal interviews and/or clarifications will be forwarded to the applicable overseas visa office, thus incurring a much lengthier processing period. If you are unsure if your application is properly completed, refer to your local immigration professional for assistance; it may save you months of unnecessary delay.

* Rick Howat
Upon completion of economics studies in university, Mr. Howat thereafter joined the Citizenship and Immigration department where he acted as a Senior Immigration Officer and supervisor. After five years of employ with the Immigration department, pending a one-year hiatus, Mr. Howat established his own immigration consulting practice. More recently, Mr. Howat assumed the position of V.P. Marketing and Development with First Entrepreneur Enterprises, developing and promoting business immigration programs in Canada.