Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has announced that it will be sending out 35,700 invitations for the Parents and Grandparents Program (PGP) starting May 21, 2024. The invitations will be issued to potential sponsors who submitted an interest-to sponsor form in 2020. 

The PGP allows Canadian citizens and permanent residents outside Quebec to sponsor their parents and grandparents for permanent residency in Canada. The program aims to reunite families and is a crucial part of Canada’s immigration system. The current immigration levels plan targets an intake of 23,500 new permanent residents per year under the PGP. 

To be eligible to sponsor their parents or grandparents, individuals must meet specific criteria, including being at least 18 years old, living in Canada, and being a Canadian citizen, permanent resident, or a person registered in Canada as an Indian under the Canadian Indian Act. Sponsors must also demonstrate sufficient financial means to support their sponsored family members. 

It is important to note that for the selection process for the 2024 PGP, IRCC will not be accepting new interest-to-sponsor forms this year. Instead, they will conduct a random selection from the pool of individuals who submitted an interest-to-sponsor form back in 2020. Invited sponsors will have 60 days to submit a complete application package, including all required documents and proof of financial support. 

For those who submitted an interest to sponsor form in 2020 but do not receive an invitation this year, the Super Visa program remains the alternative option to bring their parents or grandparents to Canada. The Super Visa allows parents and grandparents to visit Canada for extended periods, with stays of up to 5 years at a time and the possibility of applying for extensions while in Canada. To be eligible for a Super Visa, applicants must meet certain requirements, such as having a child or grandchild who is a Canadian citizen or permanent resident, undergoing a medical examination, obtaining private medical insurance from a Canadian insurance company, and demonstrating sufficient ties to their home country and an intent to return. 

The reopening of the PGP for the 2024 intake brings both hope and frustration for many Canadian families seeking to reunite with their loved ones. While the issuance of 35,700 invitations is a positive step towards family reunification for some, the decision by IRCC to limit the selection process to the pool of interest-to-sponsor forms submitted in the year 2020 raises serious concerns. IRCC’s approach of evaluating applications submitted four years prior, without accepting new interest-to-sponsor forms, is unreasonable and fails to consider the evolving circumstances of Canadian families. Many individuals who have submitted their interest to sponsor after 2020 have been left in limbo, uncertain of when they will have the opportunity to bring their parents and grandparents to Canada. This decision effectively denies them the chance to reunite with their family members and disregards the importance of timely processing and fair consideration of all applications. 

The PNP program is another example of an IRCC program that has gone off the rails due to a lack of processing resources and planning. If IRCC has no plans to invite applicants who have been waiting for four years, they should make a transparent announcement. Otherwise, they should indicate exactly when they plan to process post-2020 applicants.

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