Parent & Grandparent Sponsorship Program Reopens January 2, 2014.
The federal government recently announced that Canada’s Parent and Grandparent Sponsorship Program would reopen on January 2, 2014. The Canadian immigration program, designed to streamline parents and grandparents to Canada, had been closed due to serious backlogs and unacceptable wait times.
Jason Kenney, Canada’s Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism stated that the reopening of this Canadian immigration program is part of the government’s “action plan for faster family reunification.” Minister Kenney explained that the old system for parent and grandparent sponsorship was extremely inefficient, with wait times that could take up to 10 years. Citizenship and Immigration Canada expects to have cut backlogs and waiting time in half by the time this Canada sponsorship program reopens.
Changes are also intended to limit the program’s cost, in order to protect the interests of Canadian taxpayers as well as Canada’s health care and social programs.
In order to achieve these objectives, the reopening of this Canadian immigration program will include the following changes:
- a 30% increase for the minimum necessary income (MNI) required for sponsors;
- lengthening the period for demonstrating that the sponsor meets the minimum necessary income, from one to three years;
- evidence of minimum income for the three year period must be demonstrated by providing Notice of Assessments provided by Canada Revenue Agency;
- sponsorship undertaking period has changed from 10 to 20 years;
- maximum age of dependents will be 18 years of age with the exception of those who are financially dependent on their parents due to mental or physical disability (this now applies to all Canadian immigration programs).
The new Parent and Grandparent Super Visa program will also become a permanent Canadian visa program, due to its popularity, given the 15,000 Super Visas that have been issued since December 2011. The Super Visa enables parents and grandparents of Canadian citizens and permanent residents to qualify for a 10-year multiple-entry visa to Canada. Holders of the visa are allowed to remain in Canada for up to two years at a time. The Parent and Grandparent Super Visa is not a Canadian permanent resident visa, though it provides flexibility in accommodating the reunification of family members in Canada.
Canada will have admitted approximately 50,000 parents and grandparents as Canadian permanent residents between 2012 and 2013. This figure represents the highest levels of parent and grandparent sponsorship in over 20 years. Canadian immigration objectives for 2014 are to maintain the high levels of admissions through parent and grandparent sponsorship program; although, the government will only be processing 5,000 new sponsorship applications in 2014. The limit of 5,000 applications pertains to new applications only, and will not affect candidates currently being processed. These new limits and criteria are part of the government’s plan to reduce backlogs.
Canada places a strong emphasis on family reunification and is known as having one of the most considerate family sponsorship programs in the world. Other developed countries, such as the US, the UK, Australia and New Zealand, normally do not allow for parent or grandparent sponsorship at all, or do so with very restrictive criteria, or only in exceptional circumstances.
Contact First Immigration Law Firm to speak with a Canadian immigration lawyer