Government aiming to significantly reduce processing time
The Parent and Grandparents Program (PGP), a Canadian immigration program, is set to reopen in January 2017, where 10,000 applications will be available. The hugely popular immigration program allows Canadian citizens and permanent residents to sponsor their foreign parents and grandparents to immigrate to Canada as permanent residents.
The PGP is part of the Family Class category of immigration and the Canadian government is aiming to make it a more significant category in the next few years. Hence the PGP’s 2017 intake has doubled from the intake of 2016 and it also trumps the total number of applications accepted in both 2014 and 2015.
Demand expected to outweigh supply
It is widely expected that the intake will be reached within days, this is because, despite the government’s commitment to accept many parents and grandparents, the number of sponsors far outweighs the number of spaces available.
To emphasize the growing popularity of the program, the January 2016 intake cap of 5,000 was reached in three days, and more than 14,000 new applications had been received by that time.
It is important to understand that the PGP works strictly on first come first serve basis and this is a good opportunity for applicants who have prepared and completed their applications before the opening date and have their applications submitted as quickly as possible.
New Income requirements
All Canadian citizens and permanent residents looking to sponsor their parents and grandparents are required to have a minimum income limit for them to be considered as eligible sponsors. The Canadian government has since revised these income requirements and they will be published in due course.
PGP eligibility criteria
Parents and grandparents of the sponsors in this criteria will receive Canadian permanent residence status and will be able to apply for Canadian citizenship upon the fulfillment of residency obligations. The following are the requirements for the sponsor’s eligibility for PGP:
- Be a Canadian citizen or permanent resident
- Be 18 years of age or older.
- Exceed the minimum necessary income level for PGP by submitting notices of assessment issued by the Canadian Revenue Authority (CRA) in support of the sponsorship. The sponsors must also provide proof that they have met the minimum income levels for the last three years. If married or in a common-law partnership, incomes for both persons can be included.
- The sponsor and sponsored relation are required to sign a binding sponsorship agreement stating the sponsor’s commitment to provide financial support for the sponsored person if necessary. The agreement will also state that the sponsored relative will make every effort to support themselves. All dependent children under the age of 19 are not required to sign this agreement.
- The sponsor must provide financial support and assistance to the sponsored relative for a period of three to ten years, as this will also depend on the sponsored person’s age. This period begins from the time the sponsored relative becomes a permanent resident.
Sponsors in Quebec
The Quebec government has the sole responsibility of determining whether a sponsor living in the province has the financial resource to sponsor their family members throughout their stay. All Quebec residents must sign an “undertaking” with the province, this is a binding legal agreement that binds the sponsorship.
Among other options apart from the PGP, Canadian citizens and permanent residents who wish to bring their parents or grandparents to Canada is the Super Visa. It should be noted that this is not a program for permanent residents but allows parents and grandparents to come to Canada as long term visitors. The successful applicants receive a multiple-entry visitor’s visa that is valid for 10 years, however, they are required to stay in Canada for up to two years after initial entry into Canada.