The popular Parent and Grandparent Program for immigration to Canada reopened to interested sponsors on January 28, 2019 at 12 noon EST, using a new system.
Just a few minutes later, however, the ‘interest to sponsor’ form — used to gather submissions of interest in the program from would-be applicants — was quickly closed ‘for now’ as Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) had received enough submitted forms.
IRCC now states that it may open the interest to sponsor form again in 2019 if it needs more potential sponsors, having hit its target intake of 27,000 submissions on a first-in basis within just a few minutes.
From this intake and possible future intake(s) of forms, IRCC intends to invite enough sponsors to receive 20,000 complete applications.
Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) resumed the first-come, first-served approach to processing expressions of interest, but there is new twist for the 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.
The Parent and Grandparent Program: an overview
Canada’s Family Class immigration category allows Canadian citizens and permanent residents to sponsor their parent(s) or grandparent(s) through the Parent and Grandparent Program.
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.
Changes for 2019
In 2019, as in previous years, the interest to sponsor form was available online so that eligible potential sponsors could 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.
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.
Prior to submitting the interest to sponsor form, IRCC encourages potential sponsors to gather the required information, including proof of status in Canada.
Individuals completing the PGP interest to sponsor form need to provide the following information:
- family name(s) (also known as last name, surname) and their given name(s) (also known as first name);
- date of birth;
- country or territory of birth;
- primary residential address in Canada;
- email address for communication with IRCC;
- number of family members;
- total number of persons the individual wishes to sponsor, including dependents (spouse/partner and children);
- names of the parents and grandparents the individual want to sponsor and their date of birth;
- electronic signature; and
- proof of status in Canada document number.
For 2019, potential sponsors may submit one of the following documents as proof of status in Canada:
- permanent resident card (both sides);
- record of landing (IMM 1000) (only if the interested sponsor didn’t receive a PR Card);
- Confirmation of Permanent Residence (IMM 5292 or IMM 5688);
- Canadian Citizenship Certificate or card (both sides);
- Canadian birth certificate (if the interested sponsor was born in Quebec, IRCC will only accept a birth certificate from the Directeur de l’État civil);
- Canadian passport (pages showing passport number, date of issue and expiration, photo, name, surname, place and date of birth); and/or
- secure certificate of Indian status.
When IRCC invites a group of potential sponsors to submit a complete application, this is called this a round of invitations. Depending on the number of complete applications received, IRCC may conduct more than one round of invitations.
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.
If applicants do not have the 2018 Notice of Assessment when applying, they must submit their Notices of Assessment from 2017, 2016 and 2015. If applicants have 2018 Notice of Assessment when applying, they must submit their Notices of Assessment from 2018, 2017 and 2016.
The figures below represent the MNI for applicants residing in Canada outside the province of Quebec. The size of the family unit includes the sponsor.
|Size of Family Unit||Minimum Income 2018||Minimum Income 2017||Minimum Income 2016||Minimum Income 2015|
|If more than 7 persons, for each additional person, add||$8,740||$8,616||$8,522||$8,358|
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.