Canada’s Parents and Grandparents Program (PGP) is still seeing massive growth year over year, despite the number of new immigrants dropping sharply in August, down more than 37.8 per cent compared to the previous month.
The latest Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) data reveal only 1,815 new permanent residents to Canada came here through the PGP in August, a decline of 1,105 from the 2,920 in July.
Despite that monthly decline, the data shows the PGP still allowed Canada to welcome 18,825 new permanents in the first eight months of this year, more than twice as many as during the comparable period last year.
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By the end of August, the number of parents and grandparents who had become new permanent residents to Canada through the PGP was up by 13,180 people, or 233.5 per cent higher than during the first eight months of 2021.
With the arrival of the Covid-19 pandemic, immigration to Canada took a massive hit in 2020 but then rebounded and closed off last year at a record-breaking level.
The PGP’s performance this year, though, is even stronger than it was in 2019, prior to the pandemic.
The number of new permanent residents through the PGP in the first eight months of this year is up by 2,640 parents and grandparents, or 16.3 per cent higher than for the comparable period in 2019.
Based on the current trend in the PGP, with an average of 2,353 new permanent residents per month, Canada could welcome 28,237 parents and grandparents to Canada through the program by the end of this year.
Projection For PGP This Year Shows Growth Of 132.8% Over Last Year
The projected total number of new permanent residents to Canada under the PGP this year is 132.8 per cent higher than the 11,740 parents and grandparents who came to Canada under that program last year.
This year’s projected total number of new permanent residents to Canada under the PGP is even 24.2 per cent, or 5,327 parents and grandparents, higher than the 22,010 who came here in 2019.
In its Immigration Levels Plan 2022 – 2024, Ottawa was hoping to bring in 25,000 parents and grandparents to the country under the PGP this year and then raise that target to 28,500 new permanent residents next year.
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Based on the current trend for this year, the PGP seems almost certain to surpass the immigration plan’s target for not only this year but also the next.
In the first six months of this year, the trend had been for gradually more new permanent residents to come to Canada through the PGP – but the number of new permanent residents under the program began to fall in July.
Only 1,300 new permanent residents came to Canada under the PGP in January but that rose to 1,680 the following month and again to 2,270 in March.
Monthly Arrivals Under The PGP Were Climbing This Year, Until July
In April, the PGP was responsible for 2,403 new permanent residents to Canada. Then, the numbers really spiked, up 692 new permanent residents, or almost 28.8 per cent, in May over the previous month – and again another 10.5 per cent to hit 3,420 in June.
But the numbers fell off in July and then again in August.
It’s clear, though, that the number of new permanent residents under the PGP is nonetheless headed for the upper part of the range under the immigration levels plan.
The range for the PGP for this year was set at 19,000 to 31,000 new permanent residents. So, the projected number of new arrivals under the program for 2022 is still within that range, albeit close to the upper limit.
During its record-breaking year for immigration in 2021, Canada welcomed 406,025 new permanent residents, including the 11,740 under the PGP.
The program to sponsor parents and grandparents had by then been growing fairly steadily since 2015 when the country welcomed 15,490 new permanent residents to the country under the PGP.
In 2016, the number of new permanent residents through the PGP grew by more than 10 per cent, or 1,550 new permanent residents, to hit 17,040, IRCC data reveals.
The following year, that number swelled to 20,495, a jump of 3,455, or almost 20.3 per cent.
Then, in 2018, there was a slump. The number of new permanent residents through the PGP dropped 12 per cent, or 2,465 new permanent residents, to 18,030 before rebounding the following year.
In the last year before the pandemic, the number of new permanent residents under the PGP jumped by 3,980, or 22.1 per cent, over the previous year.
COVID-19 Slowed Down Immigration To Canada Temporarily, Including PGP
As COVID-19 spread throughout the globe, Canada closed its borders to all but essential travel in 2020 and public health restrictions made international travel very difficult due to COVID-19 tests, quarantines, and the need to wear face masks.
In Canada, many businesses were shut down for part of that year.
Immigration plummeted by 45.9 per cent to only 184,585 new permanent residents in 2020 – and the number of sponsorships through the PGP fell in step with that, dropping 52.5 per cent, or 11,555 new permanent residents that year.
With more and more Canadians vaccinated against COVID-19, the border eventually re-opened and public health restrictions were eased last year. Ottawa also put in place many measures to boost immigration.
There is, though, an inherent lag in the PGP because the children or grandchildren of these foreign nationals must first come to Canada before being able to sponsor their relatives.
That seems to have been the reason for the relatively small number of new permanent residents through the PGP last year.
The big surge in the number of parents and grandparents coming to Canada through this program is only being seen this year – and is likely to continue through into 2023.
By end of August, Canada had already welcomed 309,240 new permanent residents – an average of 38,655 per month – putting the country on track to receive 463,860 new permanent residents by the end of this year.
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That’s 7.5 per cent, or 32,215 new permanent residents more than the target of 431,645 new permanent residents for this year under the current immigration plan.
It’s even higher than the immigration target of 447,055 for next year, and even 451,000 in 2024.
That will mean many more permanent residents in Canada who will then be able to sponsor their parents and grandparents to rejoin them here in the coming years.
The PGP allows Canadian citizens and permanent residents outside Quebec to sponsor their parents and/or grandparents to become permanent residents of Canada.
Here’s how the program works.
Canada’s immigration department operates a lottery system for the PGP with citizens and permanent residents submitting an Interest to Sponsor form before being placed in a pool.
The IRCC makes random draws from the pool and issues Invitations to Apply (ITA). The sponsors and their parents and grandparents then have 60 days to submit a full application.
The sponsors must:
- be at least 18 years old;
- live in Canada;
- be a Canadian citizen, permanent resident, or a person registered in Canada as an Indian under the Canadian Indian Act, and;
- have enough money to support those they want to sponsor by meeting minimum income requirements for the previous three years. Candidates can include a co-signer in their application, allowing the combined income to be considered.
Processing Time For PGP Currently Estimated At 37 Months
Sponsors must also:
- agree to financially support the parent or grandparent for 20 years from the date they are approved for permanent residence, and;
- reimburse the government for any social assistance paid out to the parent or grandparent during that time.
Sponsors who live in Quebec must meet the Quebec immigration sponsorship requirements after being approved as a sponsor by IRCC. The Ministry of Immigration, Francisation and Integration (MIFI) also assess the sponsor’s income and requires an undertaking to be signed.
Through the PGP, sponsors can bring to Canada their own parents and grandparents, related by blood or adoption. In cases of divorce or separation, the spouses or common-law partners of parents and grandparents are also eligible.
A sponsor’s brothers and sisters, or half brothers and sisters, are only eligible if they qualify as dependent children.
On its website, IRCC provides estimates of the current processing times for various types of applications, including PGP sponsorships.
The current processing time for sponsorship applications for parents and grandparents is 37 months and includes the time needed to provide biometrics.
New PGP Invitations Sent In October
Canada finished the process of sending out 23,100 invitations to apply to potential sponsors through the PGP last week.
IRCC said the invitations went to people in the pool who submitted an interest to sponsor forms in 2020. There were 182,113 potential sponsors in the pool, IRCC said.
Immigration officials expect to receive 15,000 completed applications from the invitations, which were sent between October 12 and October 20.
Candidates receiving an invitation have 60 days to file a completed application.