Family reunification is one of the pillars of Canada’s immigration system. The pandemic has shown us just how important a strong support network and family ties are.
This is why on July 20, 2021, the Minister of Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) announced that a record number of invitations will be extended under the Parents and Grandparents Program (PGP).
Parents and Grandparents Program – a record number of invitations
IRCC will be accepting up to 30,000 applicants under the PGP who have already submitted their Interest to Sponsor (ITS) forms in 2020. Last year, 10,000 applicants were invited to apply through PGP. This means that 20,000 more individuals will have the opportunity to sponsor their loved ones this year compared to last year.
IRCC has also recognized that the pandemic may have caused financial hardships for some applicants. For this reason, the income requirement will take a more flexible approach to ensure that applicants are not being penalized for losing income during the pandemic.
Those selected to apply will be assessed for the 2018, 2019 and 2020 tax years. However, for the 2020 tax year, applicants will only need to meet the minimum necessary income, as opposed to the previous minimum necessary income plus 30%. Applicants will also be able to include regular Employment Insurance benefits and temporary COVID-19 benefits (e.g., the Canada Emergency Response benefit) towards their income.
When will invitations be issued?
Invitations to apply will begin the week of September 20, 2021, and take place over the following two weeks. IRCC will be using the same randomized draw process as used in previous years to send invitations to potential sponsors who have submitted their ITS forms in 2020. It is a good idea to monitor the e-mail account that you used to submit your ITS during that time.
Applicants invited to apply will have the opportunity to use IRCC’s new Permanent Resident Digital Intake tool. This tool allows applications to be submitted electronically, and aims to both speed up and simplify the application process.
I have been invited – what do I do now?
If you are invited to apply in September 2021, you will have 60 days to submit your application. It is very important that your application is complete at this stage. If you have any questions regarding your application, contact our office today.
I have not received an invitation to apply – what are my options?
There are still other immigration pathways to reunite you with your loved ones. Individuals who do not receive an invitation to apply may consider applying for a super visa. A super visa allows parents and grandparents to enter Canada multiple times, for up to two years at a time, over a 10-year period.
If you have any questions about the Parents and Grandparents Program, or need further information regarding family reunification, contact our office today to speak to one of our immigration lawyers!