Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has chosen at random 10,000 sponsors who wish to submit an application to bring their parent(s) or grandparent(s) to Canada as permanent residents through the Parent and Grandparent Program (PGP).
According to IRCC, these 10,000 sponsors represent around 17,000 sponsored persons, as an application can include more than one sponsored person. The 10,000 sponsors were selected from a pool of around 95,000 potential sponsors who had submitted an ‘Interest to Sponsor’ form earlier this year.
While the form has been unavailable since February 2, it took IRCC until April 25 to announce that it had made its random selection of potential sponsors for this program. In the meantime, the department was removing duplicate profiles from the pool of potential sponsors.
Each individual who submitted the form has been contacted with news regarding their submission, including those who were unfortunate not to receive an invitation on this occasion. These individuals have the option to indicate their interest in applying in 2018.
This is the first time that IRCC has operated the PGP in this fashion. Previously, the PGP operated on a first-come, first-served basis. However, this was found to create problems for applicants and IRCC staff alike, as individuals seeking to bring loved ones to Canada through the PGP were reportedly paying large sums to couriers in an effort to get their application to the top of the pile for a program that was inundated with more applications than available spots.
While the application process and application package has changed for 2017, it should be noted that eligibility requirements (outlined below) have not changed.
In addition to changing the system, IRCC took another step this year to alleviate the supply and demand issues that have cropped up in the past by doubling the annual intake of new applications from 5,000 to 10,000.
Indeed, the government of Canada’s 2017 Immigration Levels Plan sets a target to welcome 20,000 new parents and grandparents as permanent residents in 2017. Consequently, with up to 17,000 sponsored persons due to be sponsored over the coming months, this will allow IRCC to reduce the backlog of previously submitted applications even further, something that it has been successful at doing over recent years.
IRCC has also taken steps to accelerate application processing times under the Family Class programs, including the PGP, with former Immigration Minister John McCallum having given a commitment to reducing processing times as recently as December of last year.
Only 90 days to apply
Sponsors who received an invitation to apply this week have only a 90-day period during which they may apply and submit all supporting documents, meaning that there is a deadline of July 24, 2017. Among other material, sponsors must submit income taxation records and documents relating to civil status.
Sponsor must take responsibility
Sponsors are also required to sign an undertaking to repay any provincial social assistance benefits paid to the sponsored relative(s) for 20 years for a certain period. This period is for 20 years for sponsors residing in a Canadian province and territory other than Quebec, and 10 years for sponsors residing in Quebec.
PGP sponsors must meet the following requirements:
• Be a Canadian citizen or permanent resident;
• Be 18 years of age or older;
• Meet the minimum necessary income level by submitting notices of assessment issued by the Canadian Revenue Agency (CRA) in support of their sponsorship. Sponsors must also demonstrate they have met the minimum necessary income level for three consecutive years. If married or in a common-law relationship, the income of both persons may be included; and
• The sponsor must sign a sponsorship agreement that commits him or her to provide financial support for the sponsored person(s) (details above).