NEW REGULATIONS FOR SPONSORS OF PARENTS AND GRANDPARENTS

NEW REGULATIONS FOR SPONSORS OF PARENTS AND GRANDPARENTS

Amendments to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations (IRPR), primarily pertaining to the sponsorship of parents and grandparents, received Governor in Council approval on December 12, 2013 and came into force on January 1, 2014.

Let us remind our readers that on November 5, 2011, Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) issued a set of Ministerial Instructions (MI4), which introduced a temporary pause on new sponsorship applications for parents and grandparents for up to 24 months. This temporary pause was allegedly implemented as part of a broader strategy to address the large backlog and wait times in the parent and grandparent immigrant category.

Subsequently, on June 15, 2013, Ministerial Instructions (MI9) were issued to manage the processing of new applications to sponsor parents and grandparents as members of the family class. These MIs extended the temporary pause on the acceptance of new applications for the sponsorship of parents and grandparents until January 1, 2014, and established that, beginning on January 2, 2014, when the program reopens, a maximum of 5,000 new complete applications for the sponsorship of parents and grandparents will be accepted for processing each year.

The redesigned program also introduces more rigorous financial requirements for sponsors of parents and grandparents: the new regulations increase the financial responsibility placed on sponsors of parents and grandparents as well as the duration of the sponsorship undertaking; both the Minimum Necessary Income (MNI) and the period over which income is assessed have increased for sponsors of parents and grandparents.  Under the amended regulations, to be eligible, prospective sponsors of parents and grandparents must meet the following specific requirements:

  • They must demonstrate that for the three consecutive taxation years preceding the date of their application, their income, including the income of the co-signer, if applicable, is equal to or greater than the annual MNI plus 30% for each of the three years;
  • They must submit a Notice of Assessment (NOA) or an equivalent document (Option C print out) issued by the CRA to substantiate the amount of their income and their co-signer’s income, if applicable, for each of the three consecutive years preceding the date of their application (for example, in January 2014, applicants must submit the NOA or Option C print out for 2012, 2011 and 2010 taxation years). No other proof of income will be accepted;
  • The calculation of the sponsor’s total income will include the income of the co-signer, if applicable, and will be based on the amount recorded on the NOA or other document issued by the CRA (Option C print out) to the sponsor and to the co-signer, if applicable, less any amounts earned from the following sources:
    1. any provincial allowance received by the sponsor for a program of instruction or training;
    2. any social assistance received by the sponsor from a province;
    3. any financial assistance received by the sponsor from the Government of Canada under a resettlement assistance program;
    4. any amounts paid to the sponsor under the Employment Insurance Act, other than special benefits;
    5. any monthly guaranteed income supplement paid to the sponsor under the Old Age Security Act; and
    6. any Canada child tax benefit paid to the sponsor under the Income Tax Act.
  • The duration of the undertaking for the principal applicant and all accompanying dependents included on the application to sponsor a parent or grandparent is 20 years.

In addition, the new rules provide officers with the authority to request updated evidence of income from all sponsors who submit a sponsorship application for a member of the family class if more than 12 months have elapsed since the receipt of the sponsorship application (which is very likely to happen to the majority of the said applications).

Finally, it is important to be noted that, since there will be an annual cap on the acceptance of new sponsorship applications for parents and grandparents, CIC will only receive fees that are paid by certified cheque to the Receiver General for Canada or by credit card (valid for at least nine months). Fees that are paid in any other manner (for example, online payments, money orders), will not be accepted and the application will be returned to the sponsor, which will most certainly result in him/her failing to get hold of the cap.

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