Changes to application process

Published: Tuesday | December 24, 2013 Comments 0
Deidre S. Powell
Deidre S. Powell

Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) announced on December 18, 2013 that it will start accepting new applications under the Parent and Grandparent (PGP) Immigrant programme on January 2, 2014. The programme will reopen, allowing Canadian permanent residents and citizens to reunite with their parents and grandparents through application for sponsorship. Therefore, parents and grandparents are not restricted to applications for a super visa only, but can now be sponsored to become permanent residents of Canada.

This is welcoming news, however, there are new restrictions on the number of applications that will be accepted in 2014. CIC indicates that it will be accepting 5,000 applications worldwide for 2014. 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 promptly by submitting a complete and accurate application with all the supporting documents in order to be successful. The new application forms, guides, and information will be posted on CIC's website on December 31, 2013, just ahead of the PGP programme reopening.

Qualifying Criteria for PGP Sponsorship

There are several changes to the basic requirements that both the sponsor and the person being sponsored must meet, and only the main changes will be highlighted here. The key is to ensure that you have the financial resources to be able to be financially independent and not require social assistance in order for your family members to integrate into the Canadian society. CIC has always stipulated a minimum necessary income (MNI) per household. This should be used as a guide if you are planning to sponsor an elderly parent or grandparent.

Essentially, you will need to ensure that you take into consideration the increasing cost of caring for ageing parents or grandparents and the responsibilities that come with sponsoring a family member.

The MNI has been increased by approximately 30 per cent to ensure that families are self-supporting and reduce the net cost to Canadian taxpayers. Under the old rules, families with incomes of approximately CDN$35,000 per annum were able to sponsor a family member. Under the new rules, the minimum income per annum is approximately CDN$45,000. For example, a family of two (husband and wife) contemplating sponsorship of a parent will need to ensure that they can demonstrate a minimum household income of CDN$45,039.

Another example is if a couple has a child and they wish to sponsor their parents, this would now be a five-person family and they will need to demonstrate that they have the resources to cover the expenses associated with the increased household. Under the old regulations, the required annual household income was CDN$47,710. However, under the new regulations, they are required to show annual household earnings of CDN$62,023.

The MNI requirement is subject to change, so the table below should be used for reference only. Size of family unit, including applicant's current MNI.

MNI, plus 30 per cent

Two persons $28,182 - $36,636;

Three persons $34,646 - $45,039;

Four persons $42,065 - $54,684;

Five persons $47,710 - $62,023;

Six persons $53,808 - $69,950;

Seven persons $59,907 - $77,879.

For each additional person add $6,099-$7,928.

CIC has streamlined the required proof of earnings and restricted proof of earning to presentation of an official annual tax return known as the Notice of Assessment (NOA) or an equivalent document issued by the Canada Revenue Agency as proof of income. The sponsor will now need to submit the last three NOAs. So if you are planning to sponsor a family member in January 2014, you must submit your tax returns or NOA for 2012, 2011 and 2010. CIC indicates that this new requirement will result in less wait times as they will spend less time dealing with income verification from various sources.

Under the old system, sponsors were required to provide an undertaking to the Canadian government for a minimum of 10 years. This has jumped to a minimum of 20 years. This new requirement has extended the period of time that sponsors will remain responsible for an individual's welfare and possible health-care costs.

The above are the main changes to the application process; 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.

P.S.: I appreciated receiving all your emails, letters and comments. Best wishes to you and your family for a blessed Christmas, and I look forward to hearing from you in 2014.

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

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