Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) has announced today that it will be re-opening the Parent and Grandparent Program (PGP) allowing for the sponsorship of parents and grandparents for permanent residence in Canada. The revamped program will begin accepting applications on January 2, 2014, and applications to the program will be capped at 5,000 for 2014.
The re-opening of the program is part of Phase II of CIC’s “Action Plan for Faster Family Reunification”. Phase I of the Action Plan was initiated on November 4, 2011 when a moratorium was placed on new applications to the PGP while CIC put in place measures and actions to address the substantial backlog in the program that had led to average processing times in excess of seven years.
Phase II includes measures to continue to quicken processing times, and to re-open the program with revamped selection criteria aimed at ensuring that sponsors and families have the financial means to support their parents and grandparents.
The new criteria include important and substantial changes to the requirements for families who sponsor parents and grandparents for permanent residence:
- The minimum necessary income (MNI) for sponsoring parents and grandparents will increase by 30%, and the period for demonstrating MNI will be lengthened from one year to three.
- Sponsors must agree to a financial undertaking of twenty years, during which they will commit to repaying any provincial social assistance benefits paid to parents or grandparents and their accompanying dependents. The previous length of this undertaking was 10 years.
- The maximum age of any accompanying dependents on all immigration applications, including the PGP, will be set at 18 years of age. Exceptions will be put in place for dependents over 18 year of age with mental or physical disabilities.
Although applications to the PGP will be capped at 5,000 for 2014, CIC anticipates that it will continue to maintain a high level of admission under the program that will further reduce backlogs. In 2012 and 2013 Canada will admit 50,000 parents and grandparents as permanent residents. According to CIC this will represent the highest level of parents and grandparents admitted for permanent residence in Canada in 20 years.
In addition to the re-opening of the PGP, CIC has also announced that the Super Visa program for parents and grandparents which launched in 2011 will become permanent. The Super Visa program provides families with the opportunity to obtain 10-year multiple-entry visas for parents and grandparents allowing them to remain in Canada for up to two years at a time.
For additional information regarding sponsoring parents and grandparents for permanent residence in Canada, please contact Green and Spiegel, LLP