CANADA: The Immigration Position of Parents and Grandparents

December 9, 2015

On the 4th of January 2016 the immigration programme which allowed Canadians and permanent residents to sponsor and bring their foreign parents and grandparents to Canada, will reopen again since reaching its quota in mid-January 2015.

In 2011, a backlog meant that the government had to freeze the programme. When the program was re-launched in 2014, the government limited the number of parent and grandparent applications to 5,000 per year. However, at the last federal election the Liberals announced an intention to double the quota of parents and grandparent applications to 10,000 per year.

The only criteria parents and grandparents must meet in Canada is that they have a child or grandchild who qualify to sponsor them. There is no work experience, education or language requirements for parents and grandparents. However, it should be noted that Canadian children and grandchildren sponsors must meet certain financial tests. However, Canadian sponsors are not obligated to cover any medical expenses that their parents or grandparents may incur.

This is a different immigration stance to other Commonwealth countries. By way of example, the UK has all but ruled out parents/grandparents applying for a visa unless there are genuine medical conditions that cannot be treated in their home country. Even if successful, an Immigration Health Surcharge of £200 per year is payable to cover any treatments obtained using the National Health Service.

Although the Canadian stance may appear to be less restrictive, the process has been criticised for taking up to 10 years to process applicants, and therefore despite countries like the UK having stricter rules, some believe it is far better to have these guidelines in place, than to have such an open system which then can take years to complete.

If you have any questions regarding the Canadian immigration position please contact us.