Canada Clarifies the Concept of Dual Intent for Foreign Spousal Sponsorship Applicants

It is feasible to apply for spousal sponsorship while applying for a visitor visa. This is possible due to the concept of dual intent.

Some couples while applying for common-law or spousal sponsorship, wish to apply for a TRV first and visit Canada to apply for inland sponsorship.

The other choice is to apply for both. Immigration officers have to ensure that temporary visa applicants leave by the end of their authorized stay. Nonetheless, it is acceptable for temporary residents to apply for permanent residence.

To put it simply, any type of temporary residence application does not block you from applying for permanent residence.

The real meaning of “dual intent” in the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act is:

“An intention by a foreign national to become a permanent resident does not preclude them from becoming a temporary resident if the officer is satisfied that they will leave Canada by the end of the period authorized for their stay.”

Unfortunately, this did not stop certain applicants from being denied as they failed to prove their intention of leaving Canada when their documents expired.

On October 30, IRCC made an update regarding their program delivery instructions for officers. They made a clarification about considerations to take while reviewing spousal sponsorship applications. This is especially for applicants for a TRV.

It is important for immigration officers to consider the individual circumstances of foreigners. This is for those who receive sponsorship for permanent residence either as a common-law partner or a spouse. The instructions state:

Certain factors to consider

  1. Whether the application for sponsorship is approved
  2. Whether the permanent residence application has received approval for stage one
  3. To what extent does the applicant retain ties to his home country
  4. Applicant’s plan after his application is refused

Common-law partners and spouses have to assure the officer of their intention of staying in Canada as long as they hold legal status in the country.

Immigration officers also have to consider various other factors, such as those they apply while assessing dual intent.

The Way Immigration Officers Should Assess Dual Intent

Temporary residents who wish to leave Canada and those who wish otherwise, even if their PR application gets rejected, have a difference between them.

While assessing the intention of an applicant, officers have to look at the circumstances of a temporary residence applicant. There are certain factors to consider while assessing a temporary residence application.

  • Their sources of support
  • Duration time an applicant will spend in Canada
  • Context and purpose of their stay
  • Ties and other obligations to the home country
  • Past compliance with the Canadian immigration laws and any information available in biometric and biographic information sharing
  • Reliability of information and documents submitted

From the point of view of the officer, there is not much of a difference from assessing any other application for temporary residence. Every applicant needs to receive a “procedurally fair, individual assessment.”

If an officer has some doubts about the intention of an applicant, the latter must be made aware of these doubts. The applicant should also be given a chance to respond.

If an officer fails to approve a temporary residence application, he needs to give reasons for his decision to the applicant in a written format.

You will have to expect a refusal to an application for temporary residence if the applicant makes it known that he does not wish to leave the country and wants to apply for permanent residence.

This holds true even if the applicant may later qualify for a PNP or Canadian Experience Class. According to IRCC, this is because the applicant has failed to show respect towards the terms and conditions of temporary residence, should they fail to qualify for permanent residence.

For applications with dual intent, officers need to use their own judgment. However, the Global Case Management System notes need to clarify clearly the officer’s reasoning while assessing an application.

To put it another way, if consideration is made for dual intent to be a part of the decision on the application, the same should also be mentioned in the applicant’s file.

Get in touch with us on WhatsApp or Call us at 905-671-4442. You may even email us at if you have any queries about your temporary or permanent residence application.

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