It’s good news for Canadian families who wish to reunite with close relatives living overseas. Earlier this month, Citizenship and Immigration Canada reopened the Parent and Grandparent Sponsorship Program, which allows citizens and permanent residents to bring family members into the country.
About the Program
For the first time in three years, Citizenship and Immigration Canada, or CIC, has revived the popular Parent and Grandparent Sponsorship Program. The program was suspended in 2011 to allow CIC to process a backlog of applications. During the suspension, which lasted throughout 2012 and 2013, CIC worked steadily to reduce the number of outstanding applications. Under the Action Plan for Faster Family Reunification, the government issued permanent resident visas to more than 50,000 parents and grandparents. Despite granting a record number of visas over the past two years, the program’s suspension meant that CIC accepted no new applications.
That all changed on January 2, 2014, when CIC reopened the program. Now, Canadians with relatives living abroad can once again submit sponsorship applications for their loved ones. Because applications are capped at just 5,000, however, it is important to submit new applications as soon as possible.
Who Is Eligible?
Canadian citizens and permanent residents who wish to sponsor a parent or grandparent under the program must satisfy certain requirements. Each sponsor must:
- Be able to prove his or her family relation to the individual being sponsored
- Be at least 18 years old
- Submit a signed sponsorship agreement stating that he or she is capable of financially supporting those sponsored
- Satisfy certain financial requirements
The program’s reinstatement brings tougher financial eligibility requirements for 2014. Under the new program, individuals who wish to sponsor the permanent resident applications of their parents or grandparents must satisfy the Minimum Necessary Income requirements for each of the previous three years in order to be found elgible as a sponsor.
The Minimum Necessary Income guidelines are as follows:
|Family Size||2013 MNI||2012 MNI||2011 MNI|
|8+ people, add for each additional person:||$8,148||$7,929||$7,786|
Sponsors living in Quebec have separate Minimum Necessary Income guidelines.
Tips for Filing Your Application
Because the program is only accepting up to 5,000 new applications for the entire year, it is important to do everything you can to ensure your application is included in this number. To increase your chances of a successful application, consult with an experienced immigration attorney. A skilled lawyer can help you prepare an application that is free of mistakes and contains all the necessary information. It is also crucial to start preparing early to avoid the inevitable delays that crop up during the application process.
If you are turned away because you fail to file before applications reach the 5,000 application limit, you can still apply to sponsor a relative for a Parent or Grandparent Super Visa. Unlike a visitor visa, the Super Visa allows parents and grandparents of citizens and permanent residents to stay in Canada for up to two years at a time with multiple reentries over a 10-year period.