Many Canadian citizens and permanent residents of Canada have family members outside of Canada who want to come to Canada. Fortunately, Canada’s immigration focus on family reunification means that there are multiple avenues available to Canadian citizens and permanent residents allowing them to bring their loved ones to Canada from abroad. The ways in which family members can be brought to Canada vary greatly, so it is important to understand the differing options available to you and determine which strategy works best for your family.

Family Immigration to Canada

Family immigration represents a large proportion of the planned immigration in Canada each year. According to the 2023-2025 Immigration Levels Plan, family immigration is targeted to be 106,500 out of the 465,000 planned permanent resident admissions for 2023 in Canada. This represents approximately 23% of the total planned permanent resident admissions.

Family immigration to Canada will also represent a large part of Canada’s immigration future, as future immigration plans also account for roughly the same levels of family immigration. In the plans for 2024 and 2025, the proportion of overall planned permanent resident admissions that come from family immigration are due to remain at around 23% of the total admissions.

Parents and Grandparents Program

The Parents and Grandparents Program lets citizens of Canada and permanent residents sponsor their parents and grandparents to come to Canada. In order for someone to sponsor their parents or grandparents as part of this program, they must be considered eligible to be a sponsor.

Sponsorship Requirements

A Canadian citizen or permanent resident can sponsor their own biological or adopted parents and grandparents if they meet the eligibility criteria. In order to become a sponsor in the Parents and Grandparent Program, the applicant must:

  • be at least 18 years old;
  • live in Canada; and
  • have enough money to support the people the applicant wants to sponsor.

To show proof of adequate funds for the purposes of sponsorship, an applicant must provide proof of income. It is also possible to have a spouse or common-law partner co-sign the application in order to combine incomes for sponsorship purposes.

Program Applications

When the program is open and these eligibility criteria are met, a potential sponsor can submit their application form for consideration. The people who are chosen to receive invitations are chosen at random. Once chosen, a potential sponsor may then complete the rest of the application form online.

Currently, the program is not taking new applications because there is still a backlog of applicants dating to those who submitted forms in interest of being sponsors in 2020. It is likely this program will be accepting new applicants in the future as the Immigration Levels Plans provides explicitly for parents and grandparents immigration. Further, there has been some news recently which is positive for those who want to utilize this program to bring their grandparents and parents to Canada.

Updates to the Parents and Grandparents Program

Recently, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada announced an update to the Parents and Grandparents Program whereby it will send 24,200 invitations to complete the application form to new potential sponsors between October 10, and October 23, 2023. Ultimately, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship has a goal of accepting 15,000 complete applications.

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada has also indicated that if a potential sponsor has applied for an invitation, however, their email address is no longer in use, the applicant can advise Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada of their new email address through the “find your lost confirmation number” page, which will be posted on October 23, 2023. This announcement comes as positive news for those who are considering using the Parents and Grandparents Program in the future, as new applications could be allowed as early as next year.

Other Forms of Family Sponsorship

Parents and grandparents are not the only family members who can be sponsored by Canadian citizens and permanent residents. While parent and grandparent immigration accounts for roughly 27% of the total family immigration planned through the 2023-2025 Immigration Levels Plan, alternative family immigration avenues for sponsoring spouses, partners and children are also available. The requirements for sponsorship of spouses, partners and children are similar to those of the Parents and Grandparents Program in that the sponsor must be able to financially support the people they sponsor once they arrive in Canada.

Temporary Family Visitation

There are also options available to those who want to bring their family members to Canada for a long visit, as opposed to permanent immigration to the country. Family members can visit Canada by obtaining a visitor visa, which grants the holder of the visa the right to stay in Canada for up to six months.

For those who wish to remain in Canada longer than six months, the Super Visa is also available. The Super Visa allows its holder to stay in Canada for up to five years at a time. It is also a multi-entry visa, which means that the holder can leave Canada and subsequently return on the same visa. Super Visa holders can stay in Canada for two years before having to apply for an extension. This is a substantially longer period compared to visitor visa holders, who have to apply for an extension every six months in order to keep their visitor status.

Overall, visitor visas and Super Visas must be applied for from outside of Canada, and certain other restrictions apply, including the applicant needed to take a medical exam, and be admissible to Canada in order for a visa to be granted, and entry be allowed. These visas allow for long visits with family, and if sponsorship is not an option or not available, visitor visas and Super Visas are good alternatives to consider for bringing family members to Canada for an extended period of time.

Contact Garson Immigration Law for Assistance with Canadian Immigration Matters

The skilled lawyers at Garson Immigration Law are exclusively dedicated to the practice of immigration law. Our firm prides itself on finding robust legal solutions to the most challenging immigration situations for businesses and individual clients. We are able to assist with a wide variety of immigration matters, including permanent residencecitizenshipwork and study permits, and U.S. immigration. To learn more about the Parents and Grandparents program, or to learn more about visitor visas, please call us at 416-321-2860 or reach out to us online to schedule a consultation with a member of our team.

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