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5000 parent and grandparent family sponsorship applications accepted in Canada this year

February 2nd, 2014

2 February 2014

In 2011 the Canadian government decided to freeze all applications regarding the immigration of parents and grandparents into the country as sponsored relatives. This decision was made based on the fact that there was an eight year backlog at the time in dealing with such applications. At the beginning of this year, it was decided that 5000 sponsorship applications would be allowed under the new Parent and Grandparent Program in 2014.

This new allowance is being processed on a first-come first-served basis, with only the first 5000 completed applications being accepted. However, despite this new allowance, the criteria sponsors are subject to has changed, and become more restrictive in some aspects.

Additional criteria
One of the main changes is an increase of 30% regarding the minimum income required of sponsoring relatives. As an example, a family of three will now need a minimum income of $45,039 to sponsor a relative, instead of the previous $34,646. What’s more, the sponsoring relative will need to prove that they have had this income level for at least three years, whereas the previous timeframe was only 12 months. One positive change, however, is that the visa granted to the parent or grandparent will now last for 20 years, twice the previous timespan.

Criticism received
The Canadian government has stressed that these new criteria are simply designed to ensure that any relatives entering the country as sponsored will not pose any financial burden to the country. Critics such as Jamie Liew, a refugee lawyer and assistant professor of law at the University of Ottawa, suggest that these new criteria simply suggest that the government does not trust people to bring their relatives into the country as contributing members of society.

Another critic, Andrew Cash, the NDP critic for multiculturalism, believes that the 5000 applications being allowed is simply too low. Considering applications have been frozen since 2011, he suggests that the 5000 applications will be used up extremely quickly, leaving many people frustrated at not being able to be reunited with their relatives. Indeed, it is currently unclear whether or not there are any applications left to be used.

Super Visa
For anyone left unable to sponsor their parents or grandparents to enter the country, one possible avenue is the ‘Super Visa‘ being introduced by the Canadian government which will allow people to bring their relatives into the country for up to two years at a time. This is now a permanent government program.