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Update: Changes to the application process for the Parent and Grandparent Program have been made since the publication of this article. An overview of the changes is available in this comprehensive article.
The Parent and Grandparent Program (PGP) for immigration to Canada is scheduled to open on January 3, 2017 with an application intake cap of 10,000 new applications. Demand for space is expected to exceed the quota, effectively meaning that potential applicants who are not ready to submit an application by early January are unlikely to be successful. Conversely, recent history shows that applicants who are prepared are best placed to sponsor their parent(s) or grandparent(s).
The PGP allows Canadian citizens and permanent residents to sponsor their parents and grandparents to immigrate to Canada as Canadian permanent residents. The intake cap for 2017 is double what was originally announced for the 2016 intake period, and double the total number of applications that were accepted in 2015 and 2014.
This program operates on a first-come, first-served basis. During the most recent intake period, which took place earlier this year, more than 14,000 applications were submitted between January 4 and January 7, of which the first 10,000 complete applications were retained for processing. This was double the number that was expected to be retained, and even this expanded intake was not enough to satisfy demand at that time.
PGP eligibility criteria
Parents and grandparents of Canadian citizens and permanent residents applying under this program will receive Canadian permanent resident status, and may eventually apply for Canadian citizenship after fulfilling eligibility criteria, including residency requirements. The sponsor must meet the following requirements:
- Be a Canadian citizen or permanent resident;
- Be 18 years of age or older;
- Meet the minimum necessary income level for this program by submitting notices of assessment issued by the Canadian Revenue Agency (CRA) in support of their sponsorship. Sponsors must also demonstrate they have met the minimum necessary income level for three consecutive years. If married or in a common-law relationship, the income of both persons can be included; and
- The sponsor and the sponsored relative must sign a sponsorship agreement that commits the sponsor to provide financial support for the sponsored person for up to 20 years. This agreement also states that the person becoming a permanent resident will make every effort to support themselves.
Sponsors under the PGP are required to satisfy income requirements. This ensures that sponsored persons may be assisted by their family members, if necessary, upon landing in Canada. These requirements have been increased slightly, and potential applicants are encouraged to review the latest minimum income requirements in light of the changes to ensure that they meet the requirements.
Sponsors in Quebec take note
Sponsors residing in the province of Quebec should note that the PGP application process is different in their case. In addition to satisfying federal requirements, sponsors must also satisfy the requirements set by the government of Quebec, which exercises its right to determine whether the sponsors living in Quebec have the financial means to support family members immigrating to the province, including parents and grandparents. Therefore, there are separate income requirements. Quebec residents must also sign a sponsorship agreement with the province of Quebec; this is a contract binding the sponsorship for 10 years (instead of 20 years for sponsors outside Quebec).
Sponsors apply first to the federal government, which determines eligibility and completeness of the application at that level, before applying to the government of Quebec.
Potential sponsors residing in Quebec are encouraged to contact a legal expert about the exact requirements and processes required of sponsors residing in Quebec.
Another option for Canadian citizens and permanent residents hoping to bring their parents and/or grandparents to Canada is the Super Visa. This multiple-entry visa, which is valid for up to 10 years, allows parents and grandparents to come to Canada as long-term visitors. Super Visa holders may stay in Canada for up to two years on initial entry to Canada. One advantage under this visa program is that processing times are, in most cases, shorter.
To find out if you or your family members are eligible for the Parent and Grandparent Program based on the eligibility criteria for the most recent application cycle, please fill out a free online assessment today.
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