What is the change? Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada has announced significant changes to the country’s program for sponsoring parents or grandparents.

What does the change mean? IRCC will accept as many as 20,000 applications for the sponsorship of parents and grandparents in 2019, up from the current annual cap of 17,000. Officials will also replace the current lottery system with a first-come, first-served system for determining which sponsors will be invited to apply.

  • Implementation time frame: 2019.
  • Visas/permits affected: Permanent residence through the parent and grandparent.
  • Who is affected: Canadian citizens and permanent residents seeking to sponsor a parent or grandparent for permanent residency.
  • Next steps: IRCC said in a statement that it will announce additional information related to the changes this fall.

Background: The parents and grandparent program allows Canadian citizens and permanent residents to sponsor a parent or grandparent for Canadian permanent residency. Officials switched to a lottery system for the program in 2017. IRCC has raised the cap on applications a number of times, including increasing the 2018 limit to 17,000. Observers hope that reverting back to the first-come, first-served system and increasing the cap will advantage applicants who are most interested in sponsoring parents or grandparents.

BAL Analysis: The higher cap for the parent and grandparent program is welcome news. Even with the higher cap, the switch back to a first-come, first-served system may lead to a rush to file once the IRCC begins accepting applications next year. It is also expected that applicants will be asked to provide more information earlier in the application process, though this will not be known for sure until IRCC releases additional information. IRCC will continue accepting applications under current rules until Oct. 5. Anyone interested in completing an application should contact BAL.

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice group. For additional information, please contact your BAL attorney.

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