Government aims to reduce processing times significantly
Canada’s Parent and Grandparent Program (PGP) is scheduled to reopen on January 3, 2017, when up to 10,000 new applications will be received. This extraordinarily popular immigration program allows Canadian citizens and permanent residents to sponsor their foreign parents and grandparents to immigrate to Canada as Canadian permanent residents.
The government of Canada has stated that the Family Class category of immigration, of which the PGP is a part, will become a more prominent category over the coming years. As such, the PGP intake cap for 2017 is double what was initially announced for the 2016 intake, and double the total number of applications that were accepted for both the 2015 and 2014 intakes.
Demand expected to outweigh supply
In spite of this new commitment to accept more parents and grandparents, it is nonetheless expected that the number sponsors who wish to sponsor their parents and/or grandparents will be greater than the number of spaces available. Consequently, the intake cap may be reached rapidly, perhaps within days, as it was in January, 2016.
That January, 2016 PGP intake demonstrates the ongoing popularity of the program. That particular intake opened on January 4, 2016, before the cap of 5,000 new applications was reached by January 7. More than 14,000 applications were submitted between January 4 and January 7, of which the department of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship (IRCC) retained the first 10,000 complete applications for processing. Just a few weeks later, IRCC announced that the 2017 intake would receive up to 10,000 new applications.
It should be noted that the PGP operates on a first-come, first-served basis. As a result, applicants who have prepared and perfected their application in advance of the opening date and have their application submitted as quickly as possible are in the best position to have their parents and/or grandparents accepted as new permanent residents of Canada.
New income requirements
Canadian citizens and permanent residents looking to sponsor a parent or grandparent are required to prove certain minimum income thresholds in order to be able to become an eligible sponsor. These minimum income requirements have been revised, and potential sponsors are encouraged to review the latest minimum income requirements.
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;
- The sponsor and the sponsored relative must sign a sponsorship agreement that commits the sponsor to provide financial support for the sponsored person if necessary. This agreement also states that the person becoming a permanent resident will make every effort to support themselves. Dependent children under age 19 do not have to sign this agreement. Quebec residents must sign an “undertaking” with the province of Quebec—a contract binding the sponsorship; and
- The sponsor must provide financial support for the relative and any other eligible relatives accompanying them for a period of three to ten years, depending on their age and relationship to the sponsor. This time period begins on the date they become a permanent resident.
Sponsors in Quebec
The government of Quebec is responsible for determining whether or not sponsors living in the province have the financial ability to sponsor family members and also the length of their undertaking. If you are a potential sponsor residing in Quebec, please contact a legal expert about the exact requirements and processes required of sponsors residing in Quebec.
Apart from the PGP, 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, where visa holders may stay in Canada for up to two years on initial entry to Canada.
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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