The New Year is often a time of change in Canadian immigration, with new programs opening and established programs inviting fresh applications. In less than five weeks, on January 4, 2016, the Parent and Grandparent Program (PGP) will reopen for an as yet undisclosed limited number of applications.
The application intake period for this popular program promises to be competitive, giving sponsors and sponsored persons who prepare before and during the holiday period an opportunity to maximize their chances of submitting a successful application.
Through the PGP, Canadian citizens and permanent residents may sponsor foreign parents and grandparents to immigrate to Canada as Canadian permanent residents.
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 residency obligations. The sponsor in Canada must meet the following requirements:
- Be a Canadian citizen or permanent resident;
- Be 18 years of age or older;
- Exceed 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
- Promise to provide financial support for the sponsored relative for a period of 20 years. This time period begins on the date the sponsored relative becomes a permanent resident.
The sponsor and the sponsored relative must sign a sponsorship agreement that commits the sponsor to provide financial support for the sponsored relative, if necessary. This agreement also states that the person becoming a permanent resident will make every effort to support himself or herself. Quebec residents must sign an “undertaking” with the province of Quebec — a contract binding the sponsorship.
Past is prologue: The 2016 PGP is expected to cap out
The past two application cycles for the PGP, both of which also opened early in the year, were highly competitive. In both 2014 and 2015, the application intake cap for the program was reached within weeks.
The 2014 program, which had an application cap of 5,000 complete applications, filled in just three weeks. The urgency to prepare and submit a complete and accurate application was even more apparent for the 2015 program, for which the application cap (also 5,000) was reached within a matter of days. Sponsors and sponsored persons who did not manage to submit the application had their applications returned. The program has since been closed.
Another option for Canadian citizens and permanent residents hoping to bring their parents and/or grandparents to Canada is the Super Visa. This visa is not a program for permanent residence, but allows parents and grandparents to come to Canada as long-term visitors. Successful applicants receive multiple-entry visitor visas that are valid for up to 10 years.
An opportunity to reunite with loved ones
“One of the cornerstones of Canadian immigration policy is that family reunification is a fundamental good, not only for sponsors and sponsored persons, but also for the host country of Canada,” says Attorney David Cohen.
“For individuals who have previously immigrated to Canada and wish to have their parents or grandparents follow in their footsteps, the recent announcement date for the reopening of the Parent and Grandparent Program is a huge opportunity. Nonetheless, moving from opportunity to the reality of submitting an application — and welcoming loved ones to Canadian shores — is difficult unless applicants prepare well in advance of the opening date, which is less than five weeks away.”
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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