How Will Bankruptcy Impact Sponsoring My Family?

How Will Bankruptcy Impact Sponsoring My Family?

The Implications of Bankruptcy on Family Sponsorship

In our current socio-economic climate, the topic of bankruptcy and its implications on family sponsorship has become increasingly pertinent. This article aims to shed light on the impact of bankruptcy on the process of sponsoring family members for permanent residency, particularly in Canada.

Can I Sponsor My Family If I’m Bankrupt?

When an individual files for bankruptcy, it significantly impacts their ability to sponsor their family members to immigrate to Canada. This is a result of the individual being classified as an “undischarged bankruptcy” during this period. Essentially, while you’re bankrupt, you are not permitted to apply for the sponsorship of your family.

However, this situation isn’t permanent. Once you’ve received your bankruptcy discharge, you’re allowed to file a sponsorship application to Immigration Canada.

Bankruptcy and its Restrictions on Family Sponsorship

While undergoing bankruptcy, there are certain restrictions that prevent you from sponsoring your family members. These limitations include:

  1. Non-payment or missed payments of child support and alimony.
  2. Non-payment or missed payments of immigration loans or bank loans.
  3. Existing bankruptcy that has not been discharged.

Understanding Discharged and Undischarged Bankruptcy

“Undischarged” refers to the period during which you are bankrupt. This period typically lasts nine to twenty-one months for first-time bankruptcy filers. However, if you’ve filed for bankruptcy more than once, your undischarged period could last up to 24-36 months.

“Discharged” bankruptcy refers to the period when your bankruptcy has been released. This means you’re free from your debts. Once the Canadian government verifies that your bankruptcy has been discharged, you’ll be allowed to start the sponsorship process.

Alternatives for Debtors Wanting to Sponsor Family Members

If you’re unable to wait for the undischarged bankruptcy period to end and wish to sponsor your spouse for Canadian residency, there are alternatives to filing for bankruptcy. One of these alternatives is filing for a consumer proposal.

A consumer proposal is a legally binding agreement that outlines a repayment plan to your creditors. If your debt isn’t substantial, this option might be beneficial as it allows you to pay a portion of the total amount you owe to your creditors over time.

However, there are conditions to consider when filing a consumer proposal. If you’re in significant debt, the Canadian government may reject your sponsorship application as it indicates a lack of financial capability to support your sponsored family members.

How Does a Consumer Proposal Affect My Sponsorship?

Although a consumer proposal seems like a viable alternative to bankruptcy, it’s important to understand its potential implications. Generally, a consumer proposal doesn’t affect your sponsorship application. However, the Canadian government may reject your application if they deem your debt unmanageable, especially with the addition of your family during the payment plan.

Other Factors That Can Affect Your Chances of Sponsoring Your Family

Apart from unmanageable debt, there are other factors that could jeopardize your chances of sponsoring your family. These include:

  • Revocation of your Canadian citizenship or permanent residency.
  • Incarceration.
  • Charges of a criminal or sexual offence in Canada.
  • Non-payment of child support.
  • Non-payment of fees to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.
  • Insufficient salary.
  • Undischarged bankruptcy under the considerations of the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act.


In essence, while bankruptcy can delay the process of sponsoring your family for permanent residency in Canada, it doesn’t make it impossible. Once you’ve been discharged from bankruptcy or have completed the payment plan of a consumer proposal, you’re allowed to start the application process.

For anyone planning to sponsor their family while dealing with bankruptcy, seeking professional advice is crucial. An experienced immigration lawyer can provide valuable guidance and help you make informed decisions.

Need Help?

If you need additional help understanding how bankruptcy impacts sponsoring your family, we’re here to assist. Feel free to contact us for more information.

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