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BlogPostponement of Parents and Grandparents Program in 2020

14 January 2020

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Canadians and permanent residents who want to sponsor their parents and grandparents for permanent residence will have to wait longer this year for instructions on how to participate in the popular program. On December 30, 2019 Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) announced that they have postponed the launch of the parents and grandparents (PGP) sponsorship program for 2020 until further notice. New instructions may not be released about the implementation of the 2020 program until as late as April 1, 2020.

For the past several years it has become a yearly tradition for those interested in the PGP program to wait for IRCC to announce the specific details of how the program will be implemented for the new calendar year. Last year in 2019 the PGP instructions were not released until January 11, 2019, giving less than three weeks of notice before the program launched on January 28, 2019 at 9AM PST.

The PGP was implemented in 2019 as a first-come-first served system requiring interested Canadian and permanent resident sponsors to complete an online registration form called the “Interest to Sponsor” form. Only the first 20,000 successful registrants received invitations to make applications to sponsor their family members for Canadian permanent residence. Using this registration model, it took less than 10 minutes for the PGP program to close. By 9:11 AM PST IRCC had made an official announcement via Twitter that the 20,000 registrant quota had been met.

Just like in past years the 2019 launch of the PGP program was met with harsh criticism. Many felt the registration process was unfair because it was disadvantageous to people who could not fill in the online form quickly enough before the quota was met, including those living with disabilities. Whatever the cause for dissatisfaction, it became clear that meaningful changes would need to be made for the 2020 implementation of the PGP program. IRCC’s December 30, 2019 announcement confirms that the reason for the postponement of the 2020 PGP program launch is because they need time to complete the development of a new application intake management process.

While we don’t know what the nature of the coming changes to the PGP program will be, we can look to past years for some guidance. There have been quotas on the number of PGP sponsorship applications that are accepted each year by IRCC since 2014, with the quota increasing from 5,000 to the 20,000 applications we saw last year. That number will hopefully rise again in 2020 to keep up with overall rising levels of immigration in other categories. In 2019 specifically we also saw the introduction of new procedural measures designed to reduce the likelihood that IRCC will issue invitations to those who do not qualify to sponsor their parents or grandparents. For example, requirements were introduced in 2019 to upload proof of the immigration status of the sponsor. Furthermore, IRCC accepted an additional 7,000 registrations above the 20,000 quota to allow them to issue backup invitations in case any of the first 20,000 were not found eligible to sponsor. This eliminated the need to re-open the PGP program mid-year for more registrations from the public. Similar procedural measures could be introduced for 2020.

Canadians and permanent residents who are eagerly awaiting the launch of the 2020 PGP program will have to exercise patience as IRCC completes their overhaul of the intake system. In the meantime, potential sponsors waiting for IRCC’s announcement will still benefit from making preparations, such as gathering supporting documents like tax returns and proof of their Canadian immigration status, because like last year the PGP program may open with short notice once the details of the program for 2020 are announced.

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