After many months of anticipations, 20,000 families have finally received Invitations to Apply under the Parent and Grandparent Sponsorship Program (PGP). Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) opened up for registration on January 28, 2019, and its quota of 20,000 registrations was filled in the space of less than 7 minutes. This is an extremely popular program and even though the quota has been doubled twice in the past two years, demand by children and grandchildren to sponsor their parents far exceeds the annual quota.
If you are one of the lucky registrants that has received an Invitation to Apply under the PGP, below are some top tips for preparing your complete application:
1. Demonstrate you meet the financial eligibility requirements:
It is your responsibility to demonstrate that you have had sufficient income over the past three years to be able to sponsor your parents or grandparents. While this is the key requirement for PGP sponsorship applications, there are often complex questions that arise. In order to meet this income requirement, you can combine your income and that of a co-signer for the past three years. The co-signer can be your spouse or common-law partner. The co-signer must also be eligible to sponsor and co-sign the undertaking of support for the period of 20 years. You should note that the undertaking is a binding obligation and if the people you sponsor access public assistance you will be required to pay back these sums, often times with interest and penalties.
What happens if the number of people in your family changes (you become married or a child) during the three years that you have to show income? What if you lose the support of your co-signer as part of the application? In these cases you should consult with an immigration lawyer as soon as possible to ensure that you are able to submit a successful application.
2. Submit a complete application:
If the application you submit is missing information, documents or even a single signature or date, it can be returned to you without processing. In such a case, you will likely not have sufficient time to resubmit your application and will lose the opportunity to apply to sponsor your parents this year. You should also ensure that you have provided the correct application processing fees in the required form of payment to make sure your application will be placed into processing and not returned to you.
Therefore, you should check and re-check all the documents as per the relevant checklist and ensure that all forms are completed, signed, and dated before you submit your application.
3. Do Not miss the submission deadline:
If you are one of the lucky applicants who has been issued with an invitation to apply, you should act quickly. There is a strict deadline for submitting full applications and extensions are not granted.
4. Follow up your application status and respond to requests:
You should monitor the email address you provide as part of your application as IRCC can communicate with you by email as well as mail. Once you have submitted your application, IRCC will require additional documents and steps including medicals, biometrics and police clearances and they will be in touch with you to request these documents.
You are also required to report any changes in status, such as birth, marriage, divorce or death to IRCC during the course of processing of the application. Failure to do so, may lead to a finding of misrepresentation and the refusal of your application.
Zeynab Ziaie is a graduate of the Faculty of Law at the University of Toronto and a lawyer licensed to practice in Ontario and New York. Her legal practice focuses on immigration and business law. She often works with clients to find suitable solutions in complex immigration and citizenship cases and represents clients at all levels of court.