Minimum income requirements for sponsors
I am often asked about the minimum required income to sponsor individuals for residence outside of Canada.
In this post, I will discuss when sponsors do not need to meet the minimum income tests.
Citizenship and Immigration Canada uses LICO (“low income cut off”) to determine the minimum amount of income an applicant must show in order to sponsor an individual for permanent residence.
Normally, LICO is used to determine if an applicant will be able to comply with the commitment made in the sponsorship undertaking to provide all the necessary support for a sponsored person once that person arrives in Canada.
However, there are circumstances where a sponsor will not have the burden of showing the visa officer that he or she meets LICO.
Exceptions to minimum income requirements
If a Canadian (or permanent resident) is attempting to sponsor the following individuals, he or she does not need to meet the strict LICO income tests:
- the sponsor’s spouse, common-law partner, or conjugal partner, and has no dependent children; or
- the sponsor’s spouse, common-law partner, or conjugal partner and has a dependent child (or children) but that child has no dependent children; or
- a dependent child of the sponsor, but that child has no dependent children.
In these cases, the sponsorship application should be approved so long as the sponsor is a Canadian citizen or permanent resident, and the relationship between himself (or herself) and the sponsored person is established as genuine. As well, there can be no other bars to sponsorship for a successful application.
Nonetheless, the fact that the sponsor does not need to meet the LICO provisions does not mean that finances will not play a part in the application.
For example, if a sponsor is collecting social services (e.g., welfare), then that individual may be barred from sponsoring.
As well, if the sponsor can not show an ability to support himself or herself, then he or she may be barred from sponorship as well. In other words, the sponsor will have to show some ability to support both himself (or herself) and the sponsored applicant once he or she arrives in Canada, even if that is something less than the LICO minimum income levels.
So if you don’t meet the LICO levels and you are sponsoring a spouse, common-law partner or conjugal partner (and even if there are dependent children who do not themselves have children), you can sponsor but you’ll have to show some ability to support everyone once they arrive in Canada.
As always, it is a good idea to consult with a Canada immigration lawyer before commencing the sponsorship process.