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Canada Easing Income Requirements For Family-class Immigration

Canada is currently easing income requirements on family-class immigration applicants to allow people who are not buoyant financially due to the coronavirus crisis to be able to sponsor their loved ones to Canada.

The new temporary public policy means that Canadians who are sponsoring their loved ones or family members who are nationals of another country, do not have to make thirty (30) percent more than the minimum income requirements for their region in 2020.

Canadian sponsors will also be able to count regular Employment Insurance benefits in their income calculation for this year, as opposed to just special Employment Insurance benefits.

These changes do not apply to sponsors from Quebec province, as Quebec has its own family sponsorship program.

Sponsors must still meet the minimum income criteria and all other application requirements that are relevant to taxation years.

This means that in every other relevant year, they have to meet the additional thirty (30) percent income requirements, and they can only have special Employment Insurance benefit contribute to that total.

The new measures apply to Canadian sponsors applying via the Parents and Grandparents Program (PGP), which will open to expressions of interest on Oct. 13. They also apply to the following types of a family member:

  • spouses and common-law partner;
  • dependent children;
  • minor siblings, nephews and nieces, and grandchildren whose parents are deceased; and
  • relatives of the sponsor, regardless of the age, if the sponsor doesn’t have any close family relatives who are Canadians.

The new policy came into force on October 2nd and will end when all qualified applications are processed.

The new ministerial instruction signed by the immigration minister, Marco Mendicino, stated that the reason for the exemption is due to the financial difficulties that Canadians have faced during the COVID-19 pandemic. Many businesses had to close down, or reduce staffing, and as such many people lost income or claimed unemployment benefits.

“As a result of the coronavirus pandemic, the income requirements for tax year 2020 will be quite difficult for some sponsors to meet,” read the minister’s instructions, “This could result in otherwise qualified permanent residence applicants having their application rejected, including both current and would-be applicants in the family-class immigration category whose sponsor must meet certain minimum income requirement.”

The new policy is meant to ensure that sponsors are not unjustly impacted by the effects of the coronavirus crisis in their sponsorship applications for the year 2020, or any future years where income levels for 2020 would affect eligibility.

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