Posted on - Oct 30, 2014

By Catherine Sas, Q.C.

Catherine Sas Q.C.

Having recently celebrated Citizenship week (Oct. 13-19), it is worth addressing a rather frequent topic of discussion concerning Canadian citizenship – the much maligned ‘anchor baby’.

The concept of the anchor baby is that non-Canadian citizens will come to Canada to give birth on Canadian soil for the purpose of obtaining Canadian citizenship for their newly born children with a view to obtaining permanent residency, and ultimately citizenship for themselves.

The concept of the anchor baby has garnered much attention in recent years – so much so that consideration is being given to eliminating the right of citizenship based upon birth in Canada. A close examination of the anchor baby theory does not warrant such a dramatic change in Canada’s citizenship legislation.

In order to fully appreciate the anchor baby theory, it is necessary to understand the process for obtaining permanent residence for the ultimate beneficiaries of status – the parents.

Exactly how can parents become permanent residents by virtue of their children? Canada has a parental sponsorship program. In order for a person to sponsor their parents they must be at least 18 years of age.

Sponsorship requirements

Furthermore, they must meet a financial sponsorship threshold for themselves, their parents, and their Canadian family.

For the purposes of this examination, our sponsor will be single, so we will have a family of three for which the Low Income Cutoff (LICO) figure is $34,646.

Recent modifications to the program requires that for parental sponsorship, a sponsor must demonstrate income for the three years preceding the application which are 30% higher than the standard LICO figures, which totals $45,039.

In order to demonstrate a sponsor’s income, only official Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) documents (such as a Notice of Assessment) are acceptable documentary proof.

The current program opens up at the beginning of the calendar year when current CRA documents for the past calendar year are not yet available for several months which means that a person must have proof of income going back for an actual period of four years.

Assuming that our hardworking young sponsor was able to garner a relatively high paying job directly upon graduation from high school, the earliest that a person would be able to sponsor their parents is at the age of 22.

Realistically, it is more likely that a very motivated young anchor baby would be in their late twenties or early thirties before they would have financially established themselves sufficiently to be able to sponsor their parents for permanent residence.

Residency rule

Given the time frame of 25 – 30 years that is necessary for this theory to become reality, it simply isn’t a plausible basis for obtaining status in Canada.

Nor is it likely that hordes of foreigners will be coming to give birth in Canada with a view to obtaining permanent residence thirty years down the road.

The expression “anchor baby” sounds great in a media sound byte but doesn’t hold up to scrutiny upon detailed examination of what is actually entailed in what the term represents.

Canadian citizenship is indeed a precious commodity worthy of celebration each year. The entitlement to Canadian citizenship by birth is a longstanding one and shouldn’t be eliminated on the basis of such an absurd theory as that of the ‘anchor baby’!


Catherine Sas, Q.C. is a Vancouver immigration lawyer at Sas & Ing Immigration Law Centre in Vancouver, BC Canada. Catherine has been practicing law for over 25 years, and has been voted Vancouver’s Best Immigration Lawyer by the Georgia Straight newspaper for 6 consecutive years.

To learn more about immigrating to Canada, becoming a permanent Canadian resident or bringing your family to Canada, email Catherine Sas or call her at 1-604-689-5444.

Share this article:

Related Topics: , , , , ,

Related Posts

Challenging a Refusal of an Immigration Application:  Appeal, Judicial Review or Apply Again? The hard truth is that not all immigration applications are approved.  Clients often come to us asking what their options are for challenging a negative decision.  The course of action to take depends upon the type of application that has been made.
Sas & Ing celebrates the 100 Year Journey Gala Sas & Ing Immigration Law Centre proudly assists the Indo-Canadian community to honour the legacy of the Indo-Canadian pioneers and their important contribution to Canada's past, present and future.
Control Your Immigration Destiny As with most things in life, the success of your immigration case will often come down to timing. Having a basic understanding of the immigration application process and how long you can expect to wait to be approved can often be the difference between a ...
Leveling the Playing Field: The Elimination of Discretion in the Immigration Process Discretion has always played a significant part in Canada’s immigration system. Historically immigration officers have been able to use their discretion to assess people’s skills, qualifications, and language abilities in considering various criteria for ...
The “ETA” for eTA has arrived! The eTA program is an online pre-screening requirement that was initially announced in 2015. This requirement makes it mandatory for travelers who are visa-exempt to Canada to make an online application through Canada’s eTA system before they will be all...