October 14, 2015
Tight On Time: 2016 Parents & Grandparents Sponsorship Spots to Fill Fast!
Canadian citizens or permanent residents hoping to sponsor parents or grandparents should begin preparing their applications now as the extremely popular Parent and Grandparent Program (PGP) is expected to re-open in January 2016. Currently, Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) only accepts 5,000 completed applications per year, a quota that was reached within a couple of days after opening in 2015.
It is currently expected that CIC will accept new sponsorship applications for parents and grandparents starting 2 January 2016. On 5 November 2011, CIC imposed a two-year moratorium on new applications to sponsor parents or grandparents in order to address application backlog. When the program re-opened in January 2014, stricter criteria were put in place and it was announced that a 5,000 yearly limit would be imposed on the number of applications accepted. CIC’s Ministerial Instructions state that the quota runs from the 2nd of January to the 1st of January in the subsequent year.
The quota of 5,000 applications does not refer to the first 5,000 applications received, but the first 5,000 complete applications received from applicants. An application is complete if it includes all application forms and supporting documentation as well as correct payment. It is important to make sure that the application submitted is accurate, as an incomplete application will be returned to the applicant. If the application is returned, the quota may be filled by the time it is re-submitted.
Because of the short application intake period, the PGP has become one of the most competitive Canadian immigration programs. Given the popularity of the program it is expected that, as in previous years, the total cap for applications will be reached shortly after the program opens. It is therefore extremely important that applicants are proactive by beginning preparation for their application and having it ready for submission in January. Applications need to be strong and error-free in order to have the best chances of being accepted for consideration.
Citizens born outside Canada make up a substantial portion of the Canadian electorate, so it is not surprising that family-class immigration policy has been discussed in the federal election campaign. Both of Canada’s main opposition parties – the Liberal Party and the New Democratic Party (NDP)– have pledged to increase the number of visa applications accepted under the Parent and Grandparent program, either by increasing the quota or by removing the cap entirely. However, regardless of the makeup of the next government, it is not clear whether the program could be modified in time for the January 2016 round of applications. Potential applicants should assume that the cap of 5,000 will still be in place; therefore, they should have their applications complete and ready to submit by 2 January 2016.
For more information on family class sponsorship, please click here.