Reduced Sponsorship Wait Times Help Reunite Families

A new program from Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) aims to reduce waiting times for those looking to sponsor a parent or grandparent to Canada, aiding in the family reunification process.

In the past, the family sponsorship program for parents and grandparents has been criticized for its unreasonably long processing times, separating families for length time periods. High profile cases have drawn attention to these long processing times, putting pressure on the Canadian government.  The most recent case gaining attention involves Amir Attaran, a University of Ottawa professor, who has been trying to sponsor his grandparents to Canada since 2009 under the family class immigration program.

Until recently, sponsorship processing times for parents and grandparents have been significantly longer than the wait times for spouses and children.  As noted by Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC), processing time for a spouse, common-law partner or dependent child is roughly 89 days, while that of parents and grandparents is an astounding 45 months.  Adopted children, children to be adopted, orphans and other family classes are processed daily on a priority basis.  It has recently been the case that the prioritizing of certain family members over others resulted in extensive waiting times for some.

However, there is now good news for those weary about long sponsorship processing times for parents and grandparents. CIC has revised the program with the aim to reduce wait times, avoid application backlog, and increase fiscal sustainability. According to Citizenship and Immigration Canada, in order to achieve shorter waiting times, application intake thresholds have been implemented, and the financial eligibility status for the individual sponsoring their relative has been made more demanding.

In addition to the past requirements for sponsorship, in order to benefit from the speedy processing times some new criteria must be met. Firstly, the sponsor must demonstrate, for 3 consecutive years prior to sponsorship, an income greater than CIC’s published Minimum Necessary Income. In practice, along with a certain income, this means that the sponsor must have spent a minimum of 3 years in the country before being eligible to sponsor a parent or grandparent. Secondly, the sponsor must sign an undertaking to financially support their relative. Along with this undertaking, they must agree to reimburse the Canadian government for any social assistance paid out to the relative for the next 20 years.

As the shortened waiting times for parent and grandparent sponsorships are made possible by the implementation of application intake thresholds, this program revision is not expected to affect the processing of other family sponsorships. FWCanada continues to aid individuals with the sponsorship process, particularly spousal sponsorships.

FWCanada is a Montreal-based immigration law firm that provides professional legal services on Canadian immigration. For more tips and updates on Canadian immigration, follow FWCanada on FacebookTwitter, and Linkedin.

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