As of January 2014, Canadian citizens and permanent residents will once again be able to sponsor foreign parents or grandparents for permanent residency under the Parent and Grandparent stream of the Family Sponsorship program. In order to deal with a massive backlog of applications, and the resulting wait time of eight years, the federal government had previously placed a moratorium on the Parent and Grandparent Program in 2011. Over that 2- year period Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) has developed a plan that should ensure that family sponsorship applications can be processed at higher levels.

The new 2014 program will be limited to 5000 applications (9,000 persons) per year, and the requirements will be more stringent.

New criteria for those wishing to sponsor a parent or grandparent include:

  • A 30 per cent increase in the Minimum Necessary Income (MNI) for sponsoring relatives. For example, a family of four will now require a minimum income of $54,648, up from the previous MNI of $42,065. This change is intended to more accurately reflect the increased costs of providing financially for elderly parents and grandparents, and reduce the net costs to Canadian taxpayers
  • Only documents issued by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) will be an acceptable source of proof of income.
  • Sponsors will be required to show CRA proof of income for a 3-year period as opposed to just 12 months.
  • Parents and grandparents will now be sponsored for a period of 20 years, instead of the previous 10 year requirement.

These changes are intended to ensure the government that applicants possess the financial stability to support their sponsored family members, and that they have contributed to the Canadian economy by regularly paying their taxes. The changes should also result in a reduced backlog and more expeditious processing times.

Alternatively parents and grandparents may apply to visit their relatives for 2 years at a time with a “Parent and Grandparent Super Visa,” which is a separate government program. The Super Visa is not a sponsorship program, but a temporary residence visa that is valid for up to 10 years. It allows parents and grandparents to stay in Canada up to 2 years at a time without renewal.

“By altering the Parent, Grandparent programs, the Canadian government is making it possible for family sponsorship applications to be processed more efficiently,” said Attorney Mathew Higbee. “ I look forward to helping many of my clients to become reunited with their families in Canada.”

Source- Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC)