Temporary public policy concerning applications for permanent residence as a member of the family class whose sponsor must meet a minimum income requirement in 2021

Background

A person who wishes to become a permanent resident as a member of the family class must submit an application to the Department of Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship (the Department) and must meet all criteria established in the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (the Act) and the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations (the Regulations). In the case of parents and grandparents and certain other members of the family class, whose sponsor resides outside Quebec, their sponsor must meet a minimum income requirement specified in the Regulations.

The COVID-19 pandemic, which began in March 2020 in Canada, has continued to cause serious financial challenges for Canadians and permanent residents into 2021. Many businesses had to cease operations temporarily due to emergency orders that restricted people from coming into close contact. Many unemployed individuals were and are eligible for Employment Insurance regular benefits or government COVID-19 benefits, some of which are paid out under the Employment Insurance Act (EIA).

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the income requirement for tax year 2021 will remain difficult for some sponsors to meet. This could result in otherwise eligible permanent residence applicants having their application refused, including both current and future applicants in the family class whose sponsor must meet a minimum income requirement.

Public Policy Considerations

Given the challenges faced by current and future sponsors, and the impact this will have on applicants during this time, this public policy will ensure that applicants whose sponsors would have otherwise been approved are not unfairly impacted by these unprecedented events. The public policy will exempt certain permanent residence applicants from the requirement that their sponsor must meet all of the requirements of the Regulations for the 2021 taxation year. As a result, foreign nationals applying for permanent residence as parents and grandparents, members of the family class, will be exempted from the requirement to have a sponsor who meets the requirement to have the minimum necessary income plus 30%, as long as the sponsor meets the minimum necessary income defined in section 2 of the Regulations, as well as all the applicable requirements including those pertaining to the other relevant taxation years.

In addition, sponsors of all family class applicants whose sponsor must meet income requirements will be able to count regular Employment Insurance benefits in their income calculations rather than just special Employment Insurance benefits for the 2021 taxation year. As such, I hereby establish that, pursuant to my authority under section 25.2 of the Act, there are public policy considerations that justify the granting of an exemption, from the below specified requirements of the provisions of the Act and the Regulations, to foreign nationals who meet the conditions listed below.

Conditions (Eligibility Criteria)

1) Parents and Grandparents:

Based on the public policy considerations, delegated officers may grant an exemption from the requirements of the Act and the Regulations specified below, where a foreign national:

  1. Has applied for a permanent resident visa as a sponsored parent or grandparent, member of the family class, pursuant to paragraphs 117(1)(c) or 117(1)(d) of the Regulations and whose permanent resident visa application has been accepted for processing;
  2. Has a sponsor (and co-signer, if applicable), who filed a sponsorship application in respect of the foreign national and where the sponsor (and co-signer, if applicable) complies with all the requirements applicable to the sponsor (and co-signer, if applicable) as described in section 133 of the Regulations except for the requirements specified below with respect to the 2021 taxation year:
    1. the requirement to have a total income at least equal to the minimum necessary income but only as it relates to the aspect of the calculation of such income for the 2021 taxation year and specifically pertaining to the exclusion, under subparagraph 134(1.1)(b)(iv) of the Regulations, of income received under the EIA from said calculation. For further clarity, sponsors who with the inclusion of income received under the EIA would meet the applicable minimum necessary income threshold for 2021 comply with this condition. They will still need to meet the regulatory requirement from the minimum necessary income perspective for any other taxation years required by the Regulations.
    2. the requirement to have a total income at least equal to the minimum necessary income plus 30% for the 2021 taxation year. For further clarity, foreign nationals with sponsors who with or without the inclusion of income received under the EIA would meet the applicable minimum necessary income threshold for 2021 but who do not meet the requirement to have an additional 30% of income would comply with this condition. They will still need to meet the regulatory requirement to meet the minimum necessary income plus 30% for any other taxation years required by the Regulations.

2) Other Family Class Applicants whose Sponsor Must Meet an Income Requirement:

Based on the public policy considerations, delegated officers may grant an exemption from the requirements of the Act and the Regulations specified below where a foreign national:

  1. Has applied for a permanent resident visa as a member of the family class pursuant to paragraphs 117(1)(a), (b), (f), or (h) of the Regulations and whose application has been accepted for processing;
  2. Has a sponsor (and co-signer, if applicable), who filed a sponsorship application in respect of the foreign national and where the sponsor (and co-signer, if applicable) complies with all the requirements applicable to the sponsor (and co-signer, if applicable) as described in section 133 of the Regulations except in what concerns the minimum necessary income requirements but only as it relates to the aspect of the calculation of such income for the 2021 taxation year or any month(s) in the 2021 calendar year, and specifically pertaining to the exclusion, under subparagraph 134(1)(c)(iv) of the Regulations, of income received under the EIA from said calculation. For further clarity, sponsors who with the inclusion of income received under the EIA would meet the applicable minimum necessary income threshold comply with this condition.

Requirements of the Regulations and Act for which an Exemption may be Granted to the Eligible Foreign National:

1) Parents and Grandparents:

The requirements in subsection 11(2) of the Act and in paragraph 120(b) of the Regulations to have a sponsor who meets the requirements in sub-paragraph 133(1)(j)(i) (B) and 134(1.1)(b)(iv) of the Regulations in regards to the sponsor’s income calculation for the 2021 taxation year. For greater clarity, the foreign national must have a sponsor who meets all other requirements of the Act and the Regulations other than those for which the exemption is granted under this public policy or another applicable public policy.

2) Other Family Class Applicants whose Sponsor Must Meet an Income Requirement:

The requirements in subsection 11(2) of the Act and in paragraph 120(b) of the Regulations to have a sponsor who meets the requirements in sub-paragraph 133(1)(j)(i) (A) and 134(1)(c)(iv) of the Regulations in regards to the sponsor’s income calculation for the 2021 taxation year. For greater clarity, the foreign national must have a sponsor who meets all other requirements of the Act and the Regulations other than those for which the exemption is granted under this public policy or another applicable public policy.

Start and End dates

This public policy comes into effect upon my signature and applies to new and pending applications, the latter where no final decision on the application was rendered, for permanent residence. This public policy ends when processing of all applications for permanent residence that may be affected by this public policy has been finalized. However, the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship has the authority to revoke this public policy.

The Honourable Sean Fraser
Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship
Dated at Ottawa, Dec 23, 2021

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