The wait is over: on October 13, 2020, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) launched its much-awaited Parents and Grandparents (PGP) Sponsorship Program for 2020. Canadian citizens and permanent residents 18 or over who wish to sponsor their parents and/or grandparents to come to Canada may now submit an interest to sponsor form online.
The interest to sponsor form will stay open until 12 p.m. EST on November 3, 2020. After the submission period is over, IRCC will perform a draw to randomly select 10,000 potential sponsors from the received and verified entries, who will then have 60 days to submit a full sponsorship application.
Persons with disabilities who are unable to submit their expression of interest online will have to request an alternative format of the form (paper copy, Braille or large print) from the IRCC Client Support Centre at 1-888-242-2100 or by email by/before November 3, 2020.
What Is Important To Know
For those planning to sponsor their parents and/or grandparents:
- It is a draw. The online interest to sponsor form is only a lottery entry showing an intention to sponsor. The draw performed by IRCC at a later time will determine who will be able to submit a full application.
- Only one form per sponsor is allowed; duplicate entries will be removed before the draw.
- If there are discrepancies in the information on the interest to sponsor form and a subsequently submitted full application to sponsor, the application may be rejected.
- If a mistake is made on the form, look up how to deal with it in the instructions on IRCC’s website. DO NOT submit a duplicate form (see above*).
- The onus is on a potential sponsor to prove that they satisfy the eligibility requirements for being a sponsor, including the minimum necessary income requirements.
- It does not matter when a potential sponsor completes the online form, as long as it done while the submission period is open.
- New this year: due to the financial hardships of the COVID-19 pandemic, the minimum necessary income for the 2020 tax year will be calculated without the additional 30%. However, the 2019 and 2018 tax years are still subject to the 30% addition to the minimum necessary income. This temporary public policy does not apply to sponsors residing in Quebec, as this province has its own financial requirements, different from those of IRCC.
- A confirmation number will be issued when the form is successfully submitted — save it for checking the winning entries later on.
What Else Is New This Year
Canadian siblings who would like to sponsor the same parent are allowed to submit one interest to sponsor form each for the same parent; their forms will not be considered duplicates.
In prior years, duplicate entries resulted in all entries found for a particular applicant being removed, thus preventing the sponsor from participating in the draw, while this year, only the last entry will be kept. We would strongly caution against submitting multiple forms, since the content of the website does not have the authority of a law — would you rather risk a refusal? A federal court appeal is a complex and costly endeavour. We have requested policy clarification from ICCRC — stay tuned and check our website for updates, as we will post the answer.
So, to sum it up, the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of this year’s PGP program.
- With the immense financial burden of COVID-19 measures, easing the income requirements for prospective sponsors for the year 2020 is a laudable measure: those with income affected by the pandemic will not be disqualified from sponsorship for three more years; also EI for 2020 can be included in the total income.
- Also new this year: Canadian siblings who would like to sponsor the same parent will be able to submit one interest to sponsor form each for the same parent: it is not considered a duplicate. It takes a lot to raise a child: this may be a good time to collect dividends on parental efforts.
- The submission period lasts for three weeks, so everyone interested in sponsoring could have an opportunity to participate.
- The quota for this year is only 10,000 sponsor slots (though next year IRCC promises to increase it to 30,000).
- From the “first come —first served” concept, IRCC returns to the draw again, claiming their commitment to fair and equitable treatment of all Canadians and permanent residents. Is it indeed fair? Obviously, when demand far outweighs supply, there will always be winners and losers, discontent and frustration, regardless of the system. But in a well-functioning democracy there should always be a certain expectation of public services and a way to gauge its performance — something that cannot be replaced by a lottery system. From a psychological prospective, the certainty of having your loved ones with you in Canada prevails over the prospect of lengthy backlogs — something to consider, given that some potential sponsors may wait even longer to win the PGP lottery or never be selected altogether.
- As previous “PGP lottery” experience has shown, many potential sponsors who were later selected submitted their interest to sponsor forms without meeting the qualification requirements. Each such instance is a wasted spot — when a sponsor is found ineligible, the spot is not released back in the pool. Even with a two-stage draw from sponsored parents and grandparents was 17,000, while 20,000 spots were announced to open. This means three thousand loving family members who were not able to reunite with their children and grandchildren — and with this system may never succeed. This could easily be prevented by a very simple intake management of the interest to sponsor form, such as adding fields like “enter your income on line 150 of your 2019/2018/et cetera tax return” and not allowing ineligible applicants to proceed further when the number is below the threshold. This does not require advanced computer knowledge or significant resources. All it takes is the political will to do so.
If you are planning to sponsor your parents and/or grandparents to Canada or any other immigration category, Milmantas Immigration will be happy to help you prepare a complete, persuasive application that meets all requirements and verify if you are eligible at the first stage. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.