Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada is hoping to bring in 30,000 completed applications for the Parents and Grandparents Program (PGP) after sending out 34,500 Invitations to Apply (ITA) in a little under two weeks.
The applications started going out Sept. 23 and the process was wrapped up by Oct. 4.
“The Government of Canada knows how important it is for families to be together,” an Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (ORCC) spokesperson wrote in an e-mail.
“For the 2021 program intake, IRCC is using the Interest to Sponsor form submissions received in 2020 and randomly inviting more potential sponsors to apply, in order to receive up to 30,000 complete applications.”
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Those who have received an ITA have 60 days to submit their PGP applications in the Permanent Residence online application portal.
“If you lost your confirmation number or you no longer have access to the email address used to submit your Interest to Sponsor form, use the Lost My Confirmation Number tool found here,” the immigration department tweeted.
Canadian Citizens and Permanent Residents Can Sponsor Parents and Grandparents
Under the program, Canadian citizens and permanent residents outside Quebec can sponsor their parents and/or grandparents to become permanent residents of Canada. Canada’s immigration department operates a lottery system for the PGP.
Citizens and permanent residents submit an Interest to Sponsor form, before being placed in a pool. IRCC makes random draws from the pool and issues ITAs.
- 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.
- 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.
Sponsors must also:
- Agree to financially support the parent or grandparent for 20 years from the date they are approved for permanent residence.
- Reimburse the government for any social assistance paid out to the parent or grandparent during that time.
Those who are eligible for sponsorship under the program include:
- Citizens and permanent residents’ 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.
- More than one person or couple can be sponsors if the financial requirements are met.
Those Not Invited for Pgp Can Still Apply for a Parents and Grandparents Super Visa
Not everyone who applies under the program gets selected for an ITA – and that leaves some feeling upset.
“Already six years still did not get the invitation,” complained one applicant on Twitter. “I don’t know how long my parents could wait.”
But there are alternatives to help reunite families.
Those not successful in the PGP process should consider the Parents and Grandparents Super Visa, which allows a parent or grandparent to visit Canada for up to two years at a time. A super visa allows multiple entries for up to 10 years.
Earlier this year, Ottawa made it a lot cheaper to sponsor a loved one to come to Canada under the PGP by reducing the income the sponsors need to have to only the bare minimum for last year.
“Since many sponsors may have been affected financially by the COVID-19 pandemic, the income requirement for the 2020 tax year has been reduced to the minimum necessary income, instead of the minimum necessary income plus 30 per cent,” noted the IRCC.
That means sponsors under the program can have earned $8,108 less last year, or $32,899, instead of the $41,007 needed in 2019 to qualify to bring two parents or grandparents to Canada.
Since the amount needed goes up as more people are sponsored, so too did the savings under the program this year for those bringing in more of their relatives.
A sponsor who wants to bring two parents and four grandparents to Canada needs to have earned only $62,814 last year, or $15,482 less than the $78,296 needed in income in 2019.
Canada Gave Break to Sponsors Under Pgp This Year With Lower Earning Requirements
Not only has Ottawa given sponsors a break on the amount of income they needed in 2020 to qualify as sponsors this year but the federal government has also loosened up the rules as to how that money can have been gotten.
Regular Employment Insurance (EI) and Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) payments now count towards a sponsor’s income as do other temporary COVID-19 benefits provided they were not part of provincial social assistance programs.
Ottawa is making these temporary changes to the program in recognition of the vast numbers of Canadians who lost their jobs during the lockdowns at the height of the pandemic.
Ottawa relaxed the income requirements to re-build the program as Canada recovers from the economic blow of the pandemic.
“The importance of family has never been clearer than during the pandemic,” said Immigration Minister Marco Mendicino in announcing the changes earlier this year.
“That is why we are delivering on our commitment to helping more families reunite in Canada.
“By strengthening the Parents and Grandparents Program, inviting a record number of sponsors to apply, and by adjusting our requirements to adapt to the current times, we are once again proving our commitment to helping Canadian families stay together, and thrive together.”