Interested in bringing a parent or grandparent to Canada anytime soon? The wait might be longer than you think. On Tuesday October 13th, 2022, MP Sonia Sidhu, on behalf of the Honorable Sean Fraser, Minister of Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship, announced that the Parent and Grandparent Program (PGP) is starting up again this week and will run in almost identical fashion to how the intake program ran in 2021.
To account for the number of interest-to-sponsor forms remaining in the pool of submissions from 2020, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) will only be sending invitations to apply to PGP to 23,100 randomly selected potential sponsors from the 2020 pool, rather than opening a new interest-to-sponsor form. Of the 23,100 interested sponsors, the IRCC will accept up to 15,000 applications, which equates to the IRCCs sponsorship goal under the Parents and Grandparents Program this year.
With invitations being sent out over the course of 2 weeks, anyone who submitted an interest-to-sponsor form in 2020, but who did not receive an invitation to apply in January 2021 or September 2021, is encouraged to check the email account they provided when they submitted their interest.
As part of the IRCCs commitment to modernize Canada’s immigration system, all those invited to apply to PGP ought to submit their application through the new Permanent Residence Portal or the Representative Permanent Residence Portal. By allowing all applications to be submitted via an online application-based model, the IRCC hopes the new portal will speed up and simplify the application process.
Considering that many potential sponsors may have experienced financial difficulties over the past three years due to the COVID-19 pandemic, IRCC will continue to use a lower income requirement for the sponsorship of parents and grandparents. This means that for the 2020 and 2021 tax years, the income requirement for sponsors will be the minimum necessary income—as opposed to the minimum necessary income plus 30%.
In conjunction with the sponsor’s usual yearly income, regular Employment Insurance (EI) benefits and temporary COVID-19 benefits (i.e., Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB)) are allowed to be included towards the sponsor’s income. This interim measure is in place to ensure that sponsors and applicants are not unfairly penalized for temporary loss of sponsor’s income due to the pandemic.
If you are lucky enough to receive an invitation, it is strongly recommended you seek legal advice to ensure your application is prepared and filed correctly, since the opportunity to sponsor is unlikely to present itself again soon. This truly is a lottery.
If you are not invited to apply to PGP this year, but you wish to reunite with your parents and grandparents in Canada, you may want to consider having your parents or grandparents apply for a Super Visa—a multiple-entry visa that is valid for 10 years. As of July 4, 2022, the Super Visa was updated to allow super visa holders to stay in Canada for up to 5 years at a time, including the option to extend one’s visa by up to 2 years at a time without leaving the country.
Ultimately, we recognize that there’s no easy option for folks wishing to reunite with their parents or grandparents in Canada in a timely manner. The estimated 37 months processing time is not ideal; however, the Super Visa is another viable and promising option for many folks, which in many cases, is worth exploring. Given the strong interest in the program, the IRCC will hopefully re-assess its intake numbers to facilitate increased family reunification in the coming years.
If you would like assistance with a sponsorship application or super visa, please contact one of our Canadian immigration law professionals to discuss the Parent and Grandparent Program (PGP), or any other immigration needs, we are happy to advise. Our Canadian immigration legal professionals can be reached by phone (416 368 1111) or via email: email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org