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. On August 20, Canada’s Minister of Immigration, Ahmed Hussen, announced a departure from the random invitation model that has formed the basis of the Parent and Grandparent Program for the past couple of years, in favour of a system that will favour potential sponsors who submit their ‘Interest to Sponsor’ form as early as possible.
Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) is expected to reveal further details of these improvements to the system this fall (autumn).
Changes for 2019
In 2019, as in previous years, the Interest to Sponsor form will be available online, at the beginning of the year, so 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.
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 20,000 new permanent residents will be admitted through the Parent and Grandparent Program in 2018. This figure may include applications submitted prior to 2018.
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
As was the same for the 2017 application cycle, the intake for 2018 operates on an expression of interest / invitation to apply basis. Under such a system, eligible sponsors may only submit an application if they have been invited to apply. Prior to 2017, the Parent and Grandparent Program operated on a first-come, first-served basis.
The number of ‘Interest to Sponsor’ web form submissions may be greater than the intake cap for the program, in which case some potential sponsors may not be invited to apply.
Potential sponsors have to provide the following information on the form:
- Last name
- Given name
- Date of birth
- Country or territory of birth
- Main home address
- Postal Code
- Email address
- Their status in Canada
- Family size
- Information about the person(s) they wish to sponsor
- Information about the sponsor’s income over the previous three years