Visa Options for Family Members of Quebec Residents
The Canadian relative has to accept financial responsibility for the individual being sponsored. Since Quebec manages its immigration programs differently from other provinces and territories of Canada, these differences are described in this article:
Quebec is a province with a special status in Canada; it differs from other provinces and territories in several aspects, including its immigration policy. In Quebec, immigration falls under the jurisdiction of both the Government of Quebec and the Government of Canada. Thus, all immigration programs are jointly managed by the Quebec Ministry of Immigration (which is also called Ministry of Immigration, Francisation and Integration or MIFI) and Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), the federal department.
Quebec wants to preserve its French culture and heritage. Several policies of the province are designed to promote use and expansion of French language (Francisation) and to not excessively dilute its French-speaking population. This is true of Quebec’s immigration policies as well. The Government of Quebec is responsible for selecting individuals who want to immigrate to its territory and has established its own selection criteria. If a person is approved by the MIFI, he or she receives a Certificat de sélection du Québec (CSQ – Québec Selection Certificate). Only individuals who obtain the CSQ can then be considered as candidates for permanent residency in Quebec. The candidates then apply to the Federal government but Quebec must pre-select the applicants.
The Canadian federal government is responsible for the admission of persons into Canada, even those who want to settle in Quebec. Regardless of which part of Canada a person desires to settle in, a person applying for permanent residence must do so through IRCC. If an individual wishes to immigrate to Quebec, he or she must also meet the requirements of Quebec’s government first, and then meet those of the federal government.
The federal government of Canada and the government of Quebec have a special agreement on implementing the Family Class Sponsorship immigration program. In Quebec, this program is called the Family Reunification Class sponsorship program. The application and verification process for both a Sponsor and a sponsored person is under the joint responsibility of IRCC and the Quebec Ministry of Immigration (MIFI). First, a Sponsor must apply to IRCC under the general procedure. Once applications have cleared the preliminary stage (i.e. all forms are submitted and are complete, etc.), IRCC redirects the applications to Quebec immigration authorities. If Quebec approves the application, a Sponsor must then apply directly to the Government of Quebec.
Quebec authorities determine whether or not Sponsors residing in Quebec have the financial capability to sponsor members of the family class. Quebec has also established different durations for this “undertaking”; furthermore, the requirements for sponsored persons are also different. Quebec restricts the scope of relatives who can be invited under sponsorship programs. A sponsored person must first apply for the Quebec Selection Certificate, and only after that can he or she apply for permanent residence. These issues are explain in more detail below.
The Quebec government grants Quebec Selection Certificate only to close relatives and their accompanying relatives. “Close relatives” include:
- Spouse, de facto spouse, or conjugal partner;
- Dependent child;
- Parents and grandparents;
- Orphaned brother, sister, nephew, niece, grandson, or granddaughter who is under 18 years of age and does not have a spouse or de facto spouse;
- Child to be adopted.
The main requirement for the sponsored person is that he or she must not be considered inadmissible to Canada.
To act as a Sponsor a person must:
- Be at least 18 years of age;
- Be a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident;
- Have sufficient funds to support the sponsored person and be able to provide proof of income that will enable this support;
- Have fulfilled all previous commitments to a previously sponsored person (if applicable);
- Not be receiving social assistance;
- Not have been convicted of a sexual offence, an attempt or threat to commit such an offence against any person, or an offence causing bodily harm, or an attempt, or threat to commit such an offence against a family member or relative; or have finished serving any sentence at least five years before applying for sponsorship;
- Not be subject to a removal order or be detained in a penitentiary or prison;
- Ensure that the sponsored person fully understands the scope of his or her obligations.
There are a few additional requirements for a Sponsor that apply only to a specific type of relative:
- To sponsor a dependent child, a Sponsor must demonstrate the financial capacity to sponsor his or her grandchildren, whether or not they are accompanying the sponsored person.
- To sponsor parents and grandparents, a Sponsor must have sufficient funds to support the person being sponsored as well as all members of that person’s family, whether or not they are accompanying the sponsored person to Quebec;
- To sponsor a brother, sister, nephew, niece, grandson, or granddaughter, who is an orphan with no mother and father, under 18 years of age, and not married or has a de facto spouse, a Sponsor must:
- Establish that he or she has the financial capacity to support that person;
- Undergo a psychosocial evaluation by the Centre jeunesse in his or her region to demonstrate that he or she can support and look after the sponsored person.
- Sponsor Submits a Sponsorship application to IRCC: The Sponsor must submit the correct application (the applications differ depending on the relationship with the person being sponsored) and pay the appropriate fees.
- Sponsor submits an Undertaking application to the Government of Quebec: If IRCC finds a Sponsor’s application eligible, the Sponsor will be invited to continue the process by submitting an “Undertaking” application to Ministère de l’Immigration, de la Francisation et de l’Intégration (MIFI) – the Quebec Ministry of Immigration. This submission must also include the Application for Permanent Selection - Family Reunification Class that has been completed by the person being sponsored. We recommend the Sponsor should not wait until the IRCC has approved his or her application but instead prepare the Undertaking application in advance, so that the Sponsor can send it to the MIFI as soon as possible.
- Wait for approval: If the Sponsor’s Undertaking application is approved, the person being sponsored will be issued a Quebec Selection Certificate (CSQ). The CSQ will be communicated to the Canada visa office in the person's country.
- Apply to IRCC for permanent residence in Canada: After the CSQ is received by the respective Canadian visa office, the person being sponsored may apply for permanent residence.
- Wait for approval: The approval times vary but are generally quite predictable.
What is the Undertaking application in Quebec?
An Undertaking application is a written contract between a Sponsor on the one side and the sponsored person and the Government of Quebec on the other side. The Sponsor:
- Promises to support the basic needs of the sponsored person in any circumstances;
- Commits to the Government of Quebec that his or her sponsored person will not apply for social assistance. If the sponsored person does end up receiving social assistance, the Sponsor agrees to pay that money back to the government.
The Undertaking application must be submitted to the MIFI once the Sponsor has received confirmation that his or her Sponsorship application has been approved by IRCC for review by MIFI. The set of forms and documents that compose the Undertaking application is called the Undertaking application kit. There are two kits (Kit A and Kit B), the choice of which to use depends on the Sponsor’s relationship to the sponsored person. Please note that some forms in the kit must be filled out by the sponsored person. The Undertaking application must be signed in two copies. It is usually a good idea to obtain professional assistance for completing this task.
The Sponsor must pay all fees required by MIFI before submitting the Undertaking application to MIFI. This application must be sent either by mail or courier.
What is the length of the sponsorship (undertaking)?
The sponsor’s obligation takes effect the moment the sponsored person becomes a permanent resident and must continue for the periods described below.
Spouse, de facto spouse, or conjugal partner
Child under 16 years of age
10 years or until the age of majority (18 years old), whichever is longer
Child 16 years of age and older
3 years or until the age of 25, whichever is longer
Other close relatives
Remember that after commencement, the sponsorship undertaking cannot be terminated in any case. Even if the Sponsor’s financial situation changes (e.g. loss of job, business setback, etc.), the sponsorship agreement remains in effect.
How much does it cost to immigrate to Quebec under the Family Reunification Class?
An applicant and his or her Sponsor must pay the following fees for immigration to Quebec under the Family Reunification Class.
The right of permanent residence fee and biometric fee are to be paid to IRCC. A processing fee is to be paid to MIFI.
Processing fee for principal applicant (sponsorship fee is included)
CAN $293 for main applicant
CAN $117 for each additional applicant
Right of permanent residence fee
CAN $85 per applicant
Capped at CAN $170 per family
The processing fee for the principal applicant must be paid by a Sponsor.
CAN $117 must be paid for each additional person included in the application. You will also need to pay the biometric fee for any child included in the application who is aged 14 to 19; however, biometric fees are capped at CAN $170 per family.
You will also have to pay fees to third parties for yourself and your family members (if applicable) for:
- Medical exams;
- Police certificates.
If a Sponsor wishes to sponsor a brother, sister, nephew, niece, grandson, or granddaughter, who is an orphan with no mother and father, under 18 years of age, and not married or a de facto spouse, he must also pay for a psychological evaluation.
Please note that you and your Sponsor must complete and sign the special payment form and send it along with the receipt in the same envelope by mail to the Ministry of Immigration of Quebec. Please take care to follow these minor peculiarities otherwise your application will be returned back or you will be asked to provide the missing information causing you delay.
How long does it take to process Quebec family immigration?
The processing time for the family class sponsorship immigration is composed of two parts:
- Processing application by the Quebec immigration authorities; and
Processing application by IRCC.
- The first stage usually takes 23-25 working days. After that, the Ministry of Immigration makes a decision on the application and sends it directly to the office of IRCC, where the application for permanent residence for the applicant is to be processed. Since this period is relatively short, in most cases, this does not increase the waiting time in any significant manner.
The IRCC processing time is about 12 months. Note that for parents, grandparents, and dependent children, it is 20–24 months.
Do you have to know French?
No, you are not required to know French when immigrating to Quebec. However, all documents and forms that are required for application are available only in French. Moreover, daily routine activities such as looking for housing, opening a bank account, or enrolling your children in school will also all take place only in French. If you plan to move to Quebec, learning French is a good idea even though it is not a hard requirement.
What is the Centre jeunesse?
Centre jeunesse is a public authority in Quebec that is responsible for providing psychosocial, rehabilitation, and social integration services to young people. There are seventeen youth centers spread across the province of Quebec. It also conducts the psychological evaluation test for those persons who want to adopt a child or sponsor a child’s immigration to Quebec. It is a kind of a medical exam that needs to prove your mental stability and ability to take care of a child.
What are the responsibilities under the Undertaking Agreement?
A Sponsor must:
- Provide for the basic needs for the sponsored person during the period of the agreement;
- Provide the sponsored person with all information necessary to facilitate his or her settlement in Quebec;
- Reimburse to the Quebec government the amount of money the sponsored person and his or her accompanying family members receive as government assistance (if applicable);
- Reimburse housing costs to the Quebec government if the sponsored person lives in public accommodations.
A sponsored person must:
- Strive to settle in Quebec (find a job, etc.) and take proactive steps to become independent;
- Inform the Sponsor about how his or her basic needs are being met;
- Inform the Sponsor about obtaining any other financial assistance, especially from the government.
Although the Canadian government prioritizes family reunification in Canada, there are strict requirements for both a Sponsor and a sponsored person, especially when your Sponsor lives in Quebec or you want to live in Quebec. If you are interested in exploring this route and seek assistance to ensure that your and your Sponsor’s applications are completed clearly and accurately, contact us; our team of experts will be glad to assist you in your quest for permanent residence in Quebec. The importance of providing clear, complete, and accurate information throughout the process cannot be overstated. There are many forms that you and your Sponsor must fill out. Our team will help you choose the right application kit that is appropriate for your circumstances, prepare all necessary documents, assist in your credentials assessment, and assist in preparing the applications for you and your Sponsor in a manner that presents your best foot forward.
We will give you a realistic assessment of your chances of success and assist you in developing the best strategy for a successful outcome. We will guide you on how to avoid pitfalls and improve your chances of being granted permanent resident status. Please contact our team if you are interested.