Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) recently announced the details of the Parent and Grandparent (PGP) Sponsorship program for 2021. The program will again operate as lottery system, randomly inviting a total of 40,000 applicants this year. Applicants who receive an invitation to apply will have 60 days to submit a complete application. Potential sponsors can submit these applications electronically through IRCC’s Permanent Residence Digital Intake tool.
IRCC had previously invited 10,000 candidates earlier this year and confirmed that they will accept an additional 30,000 applications through the Parent and Grandparent Sponsorship program in 2021. Since the program was meant to accept 20,000 applications in 2020, the 40,000 invitations in 2021 will make up for the disruption caused by COVID-19. Starting September 20, 2021, invitations to apply through this program will be sent over the course of two weeks. Candidates who had expressed interest but had not received an invitation in 2020 will again be considered in the next 2021 draw.
The importance of family has never been clearer than during the pandemic. That is why we are delivering on our commitment to help 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.– The Honourable Marco E. L. Mendicino, P.C., M.P., Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship
What is the PGP lottery system?
Starting September 20th, 2021, the PGP program will randomly draw 30,000 potential sponsors and invite them to apply. These candidates must have previously submitted an interest to sponsor form during the last intake period in fall 2020.
This system has been subject to criticism for trivializing a sensitive matter of family reunification. Canada had previously used a “first come, first served” system for PGP applications. The lottery system was thought to be more fair than the previous process, which gave an advantage to those who were geographically closer able to pay for the couriers or legal help with their application.
Who is eligible to sponsor their parent or grandparent?
To be eligible, sponsors must be over 18, and living in Canada as a permanent resident or citizen. Sponsors must also demonstrate that they have sufficient funds to support the family members they are responsible for. To demonstrate this, IRCC requests tax documents from the last three years. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, IRCC does not require the usual additional 30% to the minimum income the 2020 tax year. Further, Employment Insurance benefits and temporary COVID-19 benefits may also be included toward the sponsor’s income.
Super Visa for Parents and Grandparents
If sponsorship for permanent residence is not an option, Canada also offers the Super Visa for parents and grandparents. The Super Visa is a multiple-entry visitor visa that can be valid for a period of up to 10 years.