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November 19, 2023

IRCC memo highlights Parents and Grandparents Program challenges

The demand for sponsoring parents and grandparents significantly exceeds Canada’s available admission targets.

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This is revealed in an internal Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) memo recently obtained by CIC News.

Before the pandemic, IRCC would typically receive interest to sponsor submissions each year, randomize the submission and then select a limited number of applicants to apply based on application targets.

In 2022, IRCC decided to receive 15,000 complete applications by selecting prospective sponsors from the pool of interest to sponsor forms submitted in the fall of 2020.

However, inventory levels and processing times for the Parent and Grandparent Program (PGP) applications have grown every year since 2019. Recent intake volumes have been significantly larger than admission targets resulting in a current inventory of nearly 100,000 persons.

The PGP will be allocating 28,500 admissions for parents and grandparents in 2023. The Immigration Levels Plan 2024-2026 announced that in 2024, this number will grow to 32,000 and 34,000 in 2025 and 2026.

Despite these admission level increases, given the number of applicants in the existing pool, no new applicants are needed in 2023 to meet these levels. Therefore, new applications that are received in 2023 will have to wait approximately two to three years to be finalized.

Processing times for parent and grandparent applications are a result of intake management. If the input of application received is greater than the output of finalized applications, the inventory grows, which results in longer processing times. According to the memo, a meaningful reduction and stability in processing times will only be achieved through intake management and the alignment of inputs and outputs.

The IRCC memo recommends that while intakes are at the discretion of the immigration minister, to ensure stable processing times, annual volumes should be calculated based on the Levels Plan. A multi-year Intake Plan could be established in parallel to the Levels Plan to ensure that intake aligns with admission targets. This would be similar to what is done in Express Entry.

Following the drafting of this memo, IRCC unveiled the PGP 2023 process. Between October 10th and 24th, IRCC sent out 24,200 invitations to apply to the PGP with the hopes of receiving 15,000 complete applications. Eligible applicants were chosen from the 2020 pool of interested eligible sponsors.

The Super Visa

Another alternative to the PGP is the Super Visa, where parents and grandparents of Canadians can stay in Canada for an extended period of time.

The Super Visa is a temporary visa that allows parents and grandparents to visit their family in Canada for up to five consecutive years without having to renew their visitor status. With a Super Visa, parents and grandparents can enter Canada multiple times for up to 10 years.

If you are already a Super Visa holder, you can apply for an extension that may enable a parent or grandparent to remain in Canada as a visitor for up to 7 years.

The benefit of the Super Visa is that is available year-round. It is also ideal for parents and grandparents living in countries that require a Temporary Resident Visa (TRV) for entry into Canada. With the Super Visa, they will be able to travel freely between Canada and their country of residence with the need to re-apply for a TRV.

Who can apply for a Super Visa?

In order to apply for the Super Visa, an applicant must be a parent or grandparent of a Canadian citizen or permanent resident.

The applicant must also have a signed letter from their child or grandchild inviting them to Canada. This letter should include:

  • A promise of financial support for the length of the visit
  • The list and number of people in the household of this person
  • A copy of this person’s Canadian citizenship or permanent resident document

The applicant must also show proof of medical insurance from a Canadian insurance company that is:

  • Valid for at least 1 year from the date of entry
  • At least $100,000 of emergency coverage

It is important to note that as of December 7, 2022, it is no longer required that the insurance policy be paid in full when applying for the Super Visa.

Finally, the child or grandchild of the applicant must be able to prove that they can meet the income requirements of the Super Visa, identified by the Low-Income Cut Off (LICO). The purpose of the income requirement is to ensure that the child or grandchild can financially support their family members.

The proof that the applicant meets the LICO may be in the form of the following documents:

  • Notice of Assessment (NOA) or T4/T1 for the most recent tax year
  • Employment Insurance Stubs
  • An employment letter that includes salary and hire date
  • Pay stubs
  • Bank statements

Get a Free Super Visa Telephone Consultation with the Cohen Immigration Law Firm