The end of the parents and grandparents sponsorship program?

The Canadian government announced on September 8th that the annual Parents and Grandparents sponsorship program will again be limited to people who applied in 2020.  This makes it four years on a row that IRCC is inviting people from the 2020 application pool!   Very lucky for those who applied in 2020, but truly disappointing for anyone who has been waiting to bring their parents or grandparents to live with them in Canada since then.

The sponsorship of parents and grandparents has been a lottery based system, where a prospective sponsor fills out an “expression of interest” form, and then in October IRCC invites a specified number of applicants to submit the full sponsorship application.  This year, 24,200 potential sponsors will be selected from the 2020 pool, with the goal of receiving 15,000 completed applications.  

In other programs that use expression of interest, such as Express Entry, your profile is valid for one year, and then you have to create a new profile if you have not been selected after one year.  In theory, the parents and grandparents program should work the same way: if you are not invited to submit an application, you would need to reapply the following year to participate in the next lottery.  Simple and fair, right?   Yes, but IRCC is coping with a huge backlog of all kinds of immigration applications.. they can’t keep up with the volume.  So it is not hard to imagine that they decided to reduce the efforts put into the parents and grandparents sponsorship so that the employees can focus on other priorities.  Sending invitations to people already in a database is much easier than managing a new intake with new forms, all the questions, the IT management, etc… 

So, since 2020, citizens and permanent residents have not been able to submit an expression of interest to sponsor their parents or grandparents.  Will this continue indefinitely?  We can only speculate.  If they send invitations only to the 2020 applicants again next year, the total wait time becomes quite embarrassing : 4 years to get an invitation to apply, then another 2+ years for the applications to be processed.  So my guess is that they will make changes to the program in 2024.

For now, I strongly recommend the Supervisa as the best way to bring your parents and grandparents to Canada, albeit on a temporary basis.  The Supervisa costs only $100 and allows the holder to stay in Canada up to five years at a time.  So it is worth looking into now if you were waiting to apply to sponsor a parent or grandparent this year!

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