The COVID-19 pandemic has been especially challenging for those Canadians whose parents and grandparents are foreign nationals living outside Canada. Many Canadian citizens and permanent residents attempted to apply to sponsor their loved ones in 2020 but were unsuccessful in obtaining invitations to apply for sponsorship.

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) sponsor selection process

The Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) uses random selection process by choosing amongst those potential sponsors who have submitted an interest to sponsor form. Last year, the number of accepted applications was kept at 10,000.

On July 20, 2021, the IRCC announced that this year it will accept up to 30,000 additional applications for the year of 2021, providing an opportunity to Canadian citizens and permanent residents of Canada to apply to sponsor their parents and grandparents. The IRCC will also draw 10,000 interest to sponsor applications submitted in 2020. In total, IRCC aims to receive up to 40,000 complete applications this year which is a record number.

Canada's Parents and Grandparents Program 2021 sponsorship application process

This year, the intake for Canada's Parents and Grandparents Program will open up on September 20, 2021. After the random selection process, invitations will be sent over the course of 2 weeks. Those who are invited to apply will have 60 days to submit their sponsorship application.

In order to qualify to sponsor a parent or a grandparent, potential sponsors must meet income requirements for tax years 2020, 2019 and 2018. The specific requirements depend on the size of the sponsor's family unit. The good news is that the IRCC will not be penalizing those who lost their income during COVID-19 pandemic. Regular Employment Insurance benefits and temporary COVID-19 benefits, such as the Canada Emergency Response Benefit, will be included towards the sponsor's income.

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