The New Family Class Program

IRCC has announced the new family class based on a lottery system with the sponsor expressing their interest during a window.

To sponsor, you will need to establish that you are eligible to sponsor and that the family member falls within the family class according to the Regulations.

You can’t be on social assistance (CERB is ok) and you need to meet meet certain income thresholds (the “Minimum Necessary Income” or “MNI” currently set at 30% over and above the Low Income Cut Off threshold) or are exempt (such as Protected Persons). The numbers have been adjusted for the COVID pandemic.

Note: the MNI and financial inadmissibility are related; but one deals with eligibility and the latter deals with inadmissibility.

It’s important to speak to experienced counsel and ensure compliance with the MNI (for example, EI is not included in MNI calculation, but maternity benefits are).

The sponsor has the option to have the application proceed even if there is a shortfall; this allows access to the Immigration Appeal Division in case the visa office decides to refuse the application. The IAD can consider humanitarian and compassionate factors.

Prior to a refusal an Officer generally will put their concerns to the applicant/person concerned in the form of a Procedural Fairness Letter. It is important to provide a substantive response.

Contact one of our experienced lawyers for further information regarding the family class, the MNI, eligibility, the PFL and appeals to the IAD.

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