Mon | Oct 15, 2018

Immigration Corner | New lottery for sponsorship of parents, grandparents

Published:Tuesday | January 9, 2018 | 12:00 AM

Dear Miss Powell,

I am an only child and my parents live in Jamaica. I'm very worried about them as they are retired and living alone in the country. Thieves broke in on them twice last year and I am worried about their safety. I am thinking it would be less stressful for me and them if I could sponsor them to come to live with me in Canada. I spoke to someone last September and they said that the Canadian government is no longer allowing individuals to sponsor their parents. Is this true? How can I get them to move here with me as I can't visit them on a regular basis because of work and family responsibilities? I've installed a security system but that doesn't help. I am a citizen. Will they automatically get citizenship if I sponsor them?

- GH

Dear GH,

I'm sorry to hear about the security concerns you are having about your parents. You have contacted me at the right time as Immigration Refugee and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) are currently accepting new applications under the Parent and Grandparent (PGP) Immigrant programme. All applications must be submitted before February 1, 2018, when the programme closes and they will not be accepting any more applications for the rest of the year. If you miss this deadline you will need to wait until next year before you can apply.

Under the PGP, Canadian permanent residents and citizens will be allowed an opportunity to reunite with their parents and grandparents, as they can now be sponsored to become permanent residents of Canada. Once your parents have received permanent residence, they could be eligible to become citizens after four years, provided that they are able to meet the residency and other requirements at the time of application.

IRCC indicated that the new system will be based on a lottery as they will be randomly selecting 10,000 worldwide applications and invite individuals to sponsor their parents or grandparents. This is a global figure, with no limits on the country of origin. Therefore, persons who are eligible and qualify under this category, will need to act immediately to ensure that they submit their application online before the deadline in order to be eligible for the draw.


Criteria for sponsorship


There are several changes to the basic requirements that both the sponsor and the person being sponsored must meet. The most significant change is that applicants need to ensure that they have the financial resources to be able to be financially independent and not require social assistance from the Government. Essentially, you will need to ensure that you take into consideration cost of caring for ageing parents or grandparent and the responsibilities that come with sponsoring them.

IRCC has always stipulated a minimum necessary income (MNI) per household. The MNI has been increased to ensure that families are self supporting and reduce the net cost to Canadian tax payers. Under the new rules the MNI requirement, which you must meet for each of the three years preceding the date of your application, is equal to the Low Income Cut-Offs (LICO) plus 30 per cent for each of the qualifying years.

You will be required to submit an official annual tax return as proof of this income. They will require a Notice of Assessment (NOA) or an equivalent document issued by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) as proof of income. The sponsor and co-sponsor, if applicable, will now need to submit the last three NOA. So, if you are planning to sponsor a family member this year, you will need to present notice of assessments for 2016, 2015, and 2014 that meet the minimum required income based on the number of persons in your family.

You should also take into account that sponsors were required to provide an undertaking to be responsible for your parents' welfare and possible health care costs. You will need to sign and present this undertaking to the Canadian government which will remain in effect for a minimum of 20 years.

The above are the main changes to the application process for 2018; all other rules apply such as ensuring that both the sponsor and the person being sponsored are able to meet the social, medical and security requirements remain in place.

- Deidre S. Powell is a lawyer, mediator and notary public who is a member of the Jamaican and Ontario, Canada bars, with office located in Ottawa, Ontario. Her areas of practice are in immigration, real estate, family, commercial and administration of estates. Submit your questions and comments to: Email: line: Immigration. Tel: 613-695-8777, Twitter: deidrespowell Facebook: jamaicanlawyer.