Canada has a long history of family reunification. Permanent Residents and Citizens have been able to sponsor certain members of their family to come and live in Canada. Those members have included spouses, dependent children, parents and grandparents.
In November 2011 Canada Immigration placed a 24 month temporary “pause” on all applications to sponsor parents and grandparents. On May 10 of this year CIC announced that applications will be accepted for the new Parent and Grandparent program on January 2, 2014. This new program differs significantly from the old.
Changes to the program include:
• A 30% increase to the minimum necessary income (MNI). Instead of requiring that the sponsor meet the LICO amount for the size of the family, the sponsor will now need to meet LICO plus 30%. So, if a family with two children wanted to sponsor grandparents, the necessary income amount would be $71,991 instead of the LICO amount of $55, 378.
• The time period demonstrating the MNI is increased from one year to three years. A sponsor will now need to show that he or she has made the necessary income for a period of 3 consecutive tax years prior to submitting the sponsorship application.
• Evidence of income is confined to documents issued by the Canada Revenue Agency. Only CRA notices of assessment will be considered acceptable documents to establish the new income threshold. All other documents will be rejected.
• Sponsorship undertakings will be extended from 10 to 20 years. Anyone seeking to sponsor parents or grandparents and accompanying family members will be required to commit to an undertaking of 20 years. This means that sponsors will be responsible for repaying any provincial assistance benefits paid to the parent or grandparent for 20 years.
• The maximum age of dependents will be set at 18 for all immigration programs. Currently the cut off age for children to be considered dependents is 22, this will be reduced to 18 and will apply across the board for all immigration programs.
Applications will be capped at 5000 for 2014.
There are new regulations regarding dependent children as well. As outlined above the new cut off age for dependents will be 18 instead of 22. In addition, presently children
ver the age of 22 who have been in school full time since the age of 22 can be included on an application as a dependent. This exception will no longer exist. Only children over 22 who are unable to be financially self sufficient due to a physical or mental condition will continue to qualify as dependents.
• The Supervisa program that was brought in during the “pause” in the Parent and Grandparent program will become permanent. Parents and grandparents (no dependents can be included as accompanying) can apply for 10 year multiple entry visas, allowing visa holders to remain in Canada for up to 2 years.
The requirements of this program include:
• evidence of the parent or grandparent relationship to the Canadian citizen or permanent resident (e.g. birth certificate, baptismal certificate or other official government document proving relationship),
• a letter of invitation from the Canadian citizen or permanent resident which includes arrangements for care and support.
• proof that the Canadian citizen or permanent resident meets the Low Income Cut-Off (LICO),
• proof of private medical insurance valid for a minimum of one year from a Canadian insurance company and that:
covers health care, hospitalization and repatriation, provides a minimum coverage of $100,000 and is valid for each entry to Canada and be available for review by a port of entry officer