Feds hike income threshold for people seeking to sponsor parents, grandparents - Macleans.ca

Feds hike income threshold for people seeking to sponsor parents, grandparents


OTTAWA – People seeking to bring parents or grandparents to settle in Canada will have to have higher incomes and agree to financially support them longer starting next year.

These changes come as part of a revamp of the family reunification program announced Friday by Immigration Minister Jason Kenney.

The program was overhauled as a result of a backlog of applications that had neared 165,000 with a wait time of almost eight years when the government stopped accepting new applications in 2011.

The backlog is now on track to be halved by 2014 so the government is reopening the program in January and will take 5,000 applications next year.

At the same time, a 10-year, multiple-entry visa for parents and grandparents will become a permanent fixture of the immigration system.

Kenney said the changes are not just about the backlog.

“We have a choice: we can choose to have a program for extended family reunification or not,” he told a news conference in Mississauga, Ont., on Friday.

“As a government, we choose to have such a program. We choose to have such a program in a way that corresponds to our fiscal limits as a country, the limits in our health-care system.”

Government data suggests that about three per cent of sponsored parents or grandparents go on social assistance, a number that climbs to over 20 per cent once their sponsor no longer has to repay those costs.

Meanwhile, the average age of an applicant is 65 years old and nearly 44 per cent of all health-care money is spent on people over that age.

So those seeking to sponsor parents or grandparents will now have to have an income that’s 30 per cent above the low-income threshold and prove it by submitting three years of income tax assessments.

They’ll also have to agree to cover any welfare or health-care costs not covered by medicare for parents or grandparents for 20 years, instead of the current 10-year undertaking.

The parent and grandparent program has also allowed people to sponsor siblings, if they were considered a “dependent child.”

The new program will lower the age ceiling and tighten the rules for who may be considered a “dependent child,” and remove a provision which allowed full-time students to qualify, no matter what their age.

“Families say to me they want to bring their parents to Canada not to be a burden to Canadian taxpayers but apparently a large and growing number actually do end up being a burden,” Kenney said.

“This is not reasonable.”

But the NDP critic for immigration says the government is inventing a drain on the public purse that doesn’t exist when it comes to parents and grandparents who’ve been sponsored to come to Canada.

“These kinds of barriers are very creative ways, and not-so-creative, of basically saying family reunification is not where Canada is at right now,” Jinny Sims said.

“And if it is, it’s only for those who are very wealthy and not for everybody.”

In this economy, it’s unreasonable to expect people to have the same income level for three years in a row, Sims pointed out.

And meanwhile, the government is discounting the help parents and grandparents provide young immigrant families, she said.

“The Conservatives are always talking about families,” Sims said.

“This begs the question — whose families are they talking about?”

Filed under:

Feds hike income threshold for people seeking to sponsor parents, grandparents

  1. This is why the NDP are a joke. For years people have been wanting immigration reform, and now we have it. But again, the NDP criticize for the sake of criticizing. Nothing wrong with giving credit where it’s due.

    • ive always said the ndp are a joke. glad to see you think so too!!!

    • Yes so true, why then do the NDP support these people to come over! out of their income lol Jerks!
      Other countries do not so they don’t have a bunch on welfare and bilking the health care system which they did not contribute to in the first place. This is why they are supposedly have to prove income to bring your family over.

  2. Fair is fair. Canadians can’t expect to be able to immigrate to another country, bring their extended families and have the host country pick up the tab either.
    Canada also needs to clean up its act in paying for welfare and medical care for “refugee” claimants who think they’re going to just show up here.
    Canada can’t solve the world’s problems. There are too many homeless Canadians/families who need a hand up.

    • So true good point, that is why everyone wants to immigrate to Canada because they get welfare free medical etc. No other country allows this or is a lenient as or Stupid as Canada/ No Canadian citizen gets free Medicare, you have to pay or u don’t receive it. They will garnish your income welfare cheques what ever they can get out of you so why should they be allowed free medicare, which has been going on especially if they just waltz in and defy our immigration process and just appear then stupid govt gives them welfare, free medicare etc. yes what about our own people whom need it and not the ones on drugs etc. just make me so angry. We as Canadians have to speak up or we are doomed, speak to your MLA. get petitions going ,don’t be laz/ As Canadians speak up not just on here but write letters get petitions going otherwise these people will take your jobs, your home you will be the minority and poor because they will come in droves as they are already trying to do.

  3. This is really the first thing that the PCs are doing that makes any sense, There is no way that old people should be allowed to come to Canada and collect OAp and Medicare benefits unless they have paid taxes for them for at least 50 years as real Canadians have for all their lives . If these new immigrants want to reunite their families I would suggest they go home and work to improving