As of January 2, 2014, the Parent and Grandparent Sponsorship Program is accepting new sponsorship applications. With a strict cap of 5,000 placed on application intake, prospective sponsors are working hard to ensure that they submit their applications before the cap closes.
“The re-opening of this program has been the subject of great excitement here in Canada,” said Attorney David Cohen. “For the thousands of Canadians with elder family members living abroad, the opportunity to once more bring these loved ones to Canada is special indeed.”
The Parent and Grandparent Sponsorship Program
Canada’s generous immigration policy allows sponsorship of both parents and grandparents living abroad. As one may imagine, it is a very popular program amongst both Canadian citizens and permanent residents looking to bring their relatives to Canada.
In 2011, Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) was forced to place a temporary moratorium on new applications in order to process a growing application backlog. Through the government-driven Action Plan for Faster Family Reunification, the backlog has steadily declined as applications have been processed and visas issued at high levels. In 2012 and 2013, over 50,000 parents and grandparents were admitted to Canada as permanent residents – the largest number in over 20 years.
Although only 5,000 new applications will be considered in 2014, a total of 20,000 visas are expected to be issued this year, as visa officers continue to bring down the backlog. As the backlog is reduced, so too are processing times for the program as a whole.
In order to be eligible as sponsors under the current program, Canadian citizens and permanent residents must meet the following criteria:
- Demonstrate their relation to the sponsored individual(s);
- Be 18 years of age or older;
- Sign a sponsorship agreement committing to provide financial support for relative(s), if necessary; and
- Meet minimum financial criteria for the past three years.
The significant changes to the program’s eligibility criteria are the introduction of more onerous financial requirements over an extedned period of time. These requirements are necessary, according to CIC, to make sure that Canadian sponsors are able to shoulder the financial burden of caring for older relatives.
Advice for Applicants
With so many potential sponsors, capping application intake at just 5,000 is very restrictive.
“As I speak, there are families all over the country working hard to prepare sponsorship applications,” said Attorney David Cohen. “With such a low cap, it is almost guaranteed that many families will be disappointed to learn that their applications are received by the government after the cap has closed. It is therefore of the utmost importance for families to make sure that their applications are strong and error-free, so that they will be accepted for consideration the first time around.”
Another option that families should consider, said Attorney Cohen, is the Parent and Grandparent Super Visa. While it does not result in permanent residency, the Super Visa allows parents and grandparents to stay in Canada for an extended period of time as visitors. They may reside in Canada for two years at a time, for a period of up to ten years in total.
Above all, when dealing with restrictive application intake caps, being proactive is of the utmost importance. By preparing an application as early as possible, applicants are giving themselves extra time to gather all necessary supporting documents and to present a strong application to immigration authorities.
To hear more about the Parental Sponsorship Program listen to David Cohen being interviewed for the Daybreak Show on CBC Radio.
To find out if you are eligible for family sponsorship, please fill out a free online assessment today.