Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in his election platform promised to take immediate steps to reopen Canada’s doors and make reuniting families a top priority.
He said, “We will immediately double the number of applicaations allowed for parents and grandparents to 10,000 each year.” He further stated he will “nearly double the budget for processing family class sponsorship” meaning wait times will come down from the current average of almost four years for parent and grandparent applications.
People wishing to sponsor their parent or grandparent must first determine if they are eligible to do so under criteria a sponsor must meet.
This is a very favourable immigration process which is expected to reopen in January 2016 and it is recommended that interested persons commence preparation of the various applications and ensure they have all necessary documents.
Applications to sponsor a parent or grandparent will be received on a first-come, first-served basis until the projected number of 5,000 to 10,000 as promised by Trudeau. Let’s hope and see.
This program opens every year and demand is much higher than the cap of 5,000. This number is usually reached within a few weeks, so it is very important for you to get all the paperwork correct; otherwise you will lose your spot and will be unable to sponsor for the year.
The 5.000 allowable applications under this program was closed within weeks in 2015 and I am sure there are literally thousands of eager sponsors ready to rush to the gate in early 2016 so again it is important to have a perfect application or you may have to wait another year until it returns.
To sponsor a parent or grandparent you must be a citizen or permanent resident of Canada and 18 years of age or older.
You may not be eligible to sponsor your parent or grandparent if you:
• failed to provide the financial support you agreed to when you signed a sponsorship agreement to sponsor another relative in the past;
• defaulted on a court-ordered support order, such as alimony or child support;
• received government financial assistance for reasons other than a disability;
• were convicted of a violent criminal offence, any offence against a relative or any sexual offence – depending on circumstances such as the nature of the offence, how long ago it occurred and whether a record suspension (formerly called pardons) was issued;
• defaulted on an immigration loan with late or missed payments
• are in prison;
• declared bankruptcy and have not yet been released.
Other factors not mentioned in this list might also make you ineligible to sponsor a relative.
When you sponsor a parent or grandparent to become a permanent resident of Canada you must promise to support that person and their dependants financially. Therefore, you have to meet certain income requirements which are significant.
If you previously sponsored relatives who later turned to the Canadian government for financial assistance, you may not be allowed to sponsor another person. Sponsorship is a big commitment, so you must take this obligation seriously.
To be a sponsor you and the sponsored relative must sign a sponsorship agreement that commits you to provide financial support for your relative if necessary. This agreement also states that the person becoming a permanent resident will make every effort to support themselves.
Dependent children under age 22 do not have to sign this agreement. Quebec residents must sign an “undertaking” with the province of Quebec, a contract binding the sponsorship.
You must promise to provide financial support for the relative and any other eligible relatives accompanying them for a period of three to 10 years, depending on their age and relationship to you. This time period begins on the date they become a permanent resident.
Sukhram Ramkisson is a member of ICCRC and specializes in immigration matters at 3089 Bathurst St., Suite 219A, Toronto. Phone 416-789-5756.