The popular Parent and Grandparent Program for immigration to Canada will reopen to interested sponsors on January 28, 2019 at 12 noon EST, using a new system.
Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) will resume the first-come, first-served approach to processing expressions of interest, but there is new twist for the upcoming 2019 application intake. The random invitation model that formed the basis of the Parent and Grandparent Program for the past couple of years has been scrapped, in favour of a new system for 2019 that will favour potential sponsors who submit their ‘Interest to Sponsor’ form as early as possible.
The first-in, first-served approach is designed to keep the application process fair for all, while remaining an easy-to-access electronic method for applicants.
Canada’s generous Family Class immigration category allows Canadian citizens and permanent residents to sponsor their parent(s) or grandparent(s) through the Parent and Grandparent Program.
Changes for 2019
In 2019, as in previous years, the Interest to Sponsor form will be available online so that eligible potential sponsors can let IRCC know they wish to sponsor their parents and grandparents to come to Canada. However, instead of randomly selecting the sponsors to apply, as was the case in 2017 and 2018, IRCC will invite them to submit an application to sponsor their parents and grandparents based on the order in which it receive their Interest to Sponsor forms. This process will continue until IRCC reaches the 2019 cap of 20,000 complete applications.
Other improvements include a requirement for potential sponsors to upload a copy of a status in Canada document when submitting their interest to sponsor form, which has also been enhanced from previous years to include features that will help IRCC detect duplicate submissions and potential fraud.
The Parent and Grandparent Program: A brief recent history
The Parent and Grandparent Program opened for online submissions to its Interest to Sponsor form on January 2, 2018.
Those chosen in the first round were sent invitations to submit an application the week of March 19, 2018, and received reminder emails the weeks of May 7 and May 14, 2018 to ensure that IRCC received their complete application by May 25, 2018.
IRCC had stated previously that if the department does not receive 10,000 complete applications following the first round of invitations, additional potential sponsors would be invited to apply. Therefore, not all invited persons in the first round ended up submitting an application, and so as of July 31 an additional round took place.
For the additional invitations in the second round, IRCC used the same randomized list to invite additional potential sponsors to submit an application. These additional potential sponsors were given 60 calendar days to send in an application to sponsor their parents and grandparents.
The Parent and Grandparent Program: an overview
Sponsored parents and grandparents become permanent residents of Canada, with all the benefits that come with it. This includes the right to live and work in Canada without restriction on location, time, or sector, as well as access to publicly-funded health care and other services. Ultimately, sponsored parents and grandparents may become Canadian citizens.
Under the government of Canada’s multi-year immigration plan, around 20,500 new permanent residents will be admitted through the Parent and Grandparent Program in 2019. This figure may include applications submitted prior to 2019.
Parent and Grandparent Program eligibility
Both the sponsor and the person(s) being sponsored must meet certain eligibility requirements.
- be either a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident of Canada;
- meet certain income requirements (see below); and
- support the sponsored person(s) and their dependants financially.
The sponsor and the sponsored person(s) must sign a sponsorship agreement that:
- commits the sponsor to provide financial support the sponsored person(s) and any other eligible relatives accompanying them for a period of three to 20 years, depending on their age and relationship to the sponsor, beginning on the date they become a permanent resident; and
- states that the persons becoming permanent residents will make every effort to support themselves.
Residents of Quebec must sign an ‘undertaking’ with the province of Quebec. This is a contract that binds the sponsorship. Sponsors in Quebec must also meet Quebec’s sponsorship requirements after being approved as a sponsor by IRCC.
Minimum income requirements
The Minimum Necessary Income (MNI) requirement must be met for each of the three years preceding the date of the application to sponsor a parent or grandparent.
Sponsors applying in 2018 will need to provide proof of income from the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) for the taxation years of 2017, 2016, and 2015.
The size of the family unit includes the parent(s) or grandparent(s) being sponsored.
|Size of Family Unit||Minimum Income 2017||Minimum Income 2016||Minimum Income 2015|
|If more than 7 persons, for each additional person, add||$8,616||$8,522||$8,358|
- The Interest to Sponsor form will be available at this link as of noon EST on January 28.
Potential sponsors may be unable or unwilling to submit an application under the Parent and Grandparent Program. This may be because they were not invited to apply, or want to bring their parent(s) or grandparent(s) to Canada sooner.
Fortunately, there is another way. IRCC allows parents and grandparents of Canadian citizens and permanent residents to enjoy extended visits to Canada under the Super Visa program. With a Super Visa, a person may be approved to remain in Canada for up to two years upon initial entry to Canada. The visa itself is valid for up to 10 years, so holders may return to Canada for as long as the visa remains valid.
The Super Visa is not a permanent residence program. Applicants need to obtain private medical insurance and may not work in Canada unless otherwise authorised to do so. However, the relatively quick processing times mean that families may be reunited in Canada sooner than under the Parent and Grandparent Program. Moreover, applicants do not have to be invited to apply; if eligible, they may submit an application at any time and be approved to come to Canada.