CIC to reopen parent and grandparent sponsorship in 2014

Today, Citizenship and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney held a news conference to announce Phase II of the federal government’s Action Plan for Faster Family Reunification. One key element of the Action Plan’s second phase will be the re-opening of the Parent and Grandparent (PGP) sponsorship program on January 2nd, 2014.

It is expected that by this time, the backlog and wait times that had been plaguing the program for many years, will have been cut in half.

“The Action Plan for Faster Family Reunification is on track to meet the goals of cutting in half the backlog and wait times in the Parent and Grandparent program,” said Minister Kenney at the news conference.

Kenney is hopeful that the delivery of the 2014 Action Plan for Faster Family Reunification will bring about further backlog and wait time reductions, allow for even faster processing times for applications, ensure a financial safety net for sponsored family members, and most importantly, protect the interests of Canadian taxpayers.

Four new measures will take effect at the beginning of next year:

First: Keep high admission numbers.
Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) will continue to process sponsorship applications that were submitted prior to the moratorium taking effect in 2011—admitting 25,000 parents and grandparents as permanent residents.

Second: Make the Super Visa a permanent program.
Since the program’s launch in December 2011, CIC has issued over 15,000 Super Visas at an approval rate of 86 percent. Given the pilot program’s huge success, CIC has made the decision to make the Super Visa a permanent program in 2014. The Super Visa is a 10-year multiple-entry visa that allows visa holders (in this case parents and grandparents), to remain in Canada for up to 24 months at one time.

Third: Cap on number of new applications in 2014.
Beginning on January 2nd, 2014 CIC will only be accepting 5,000 new permanent resident applications under the modernized PGP program.

Fourth: New Qualifying Criteria for new sponsorship applications.
Prospective applicants will face new sponsorship criteria which include:

  • Doubling the sponsorship undertaking period for PGPs from 10 years to 20 years: Canadian citizens and permanent residents who seek to sponsor their PGPs and their PGPs’ accompanying family members would be required to commit to a lengthened sponsorship undertaking period of 20 years.
  • Raise the minimum necessary income (MNI) by 30% for sponsoring PGPs: Canadian citizens and permanent residents (including co-signers, if applicable) who seek to sponsor their PGPs and their PGPs’ accompanying family members would be required to have a total income equivalent to MNI plus 30%. For example, under this proposed regulatory amendment, a sponsor with a spouse and two children, who wishes to sponsor two parents, would be required to meet the new income threshold (MNI plus 30%) for six people (e.g. $71,992).
  • A lengthened period for demonstrating the MNI from one year to three years: Canadian citizens and permanent residents who seek to sponsor their PGPs and their PGPs’ accompanying family members would be required to demonstrate that they meet the new income threshold for three consecutive tax years.
  • Provide evidence of income through documentation issued by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA): Canadian citizens and permanent residents (including co-signers, if applicable) who seek to sponsor their PGPs and their PGPs’ accompanying family members would be required to demonstrate that they meet the new income threshold for three consecutive years using only documentation issued by the CRA.  Documents other than those issued by the CRA would no longer be accepted.
  • A change in the definition of “Dependent Child”: To prevent further abuse of the legislation’s current definition for dependent children, the term will be amended to include any accompanying children, 18 years of age or younger.

Resources
Backgrounder: Action Plan for Faster Family Reunification – Phase II
Backgrounder: Regulatory Impact Assessment Statement – PGP Program
Backgrounder: Regulatory Impact Assessment Statement – Age of Dependents

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