Canada adopts lottery system for immigrants to reunite parents, grandparents
Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Canada is adopting a lottery system to replace the current first-come, first-served immigration process to reunite parents and grandparents.

The change, which will take effect in the new year, is designed to make the system more fair for all applicants, according to a release from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada. In past, the number of applications has far exceeded the number of available spots, creating a backlog in applications.

"We're listening to what past applicants had to say and making the process fairer for people who want to sponsor their parents or grandparents," Immigration Minister John McCallum said in a statement.

"We're ensuring everyone can access the application process by giving them the same chance to have their name chosen."

Between Jan. 3 and Feb. 2, 2017, Canadian citizens and permanent residents who want to sponsor their parents or grandparents will be required to complete an online form on the IRCC website within 30 days.

Once the information is properly transmitted, the prospective sponsor will get a confirmation number. The release from IRCC says duplicate entries will be removed. It warns that completing the form does not mean person has applied to sponsor under the program.

Instead, at the end of the 30 days, IRCC will randomly pick 10,000 people and invite them to complete the full application for the Parent and Grandparent Program. They will have 90 days to submit a full application.

IRCC will let everyone who completed an online form know whether or not they were chosen.

Prospective sponsors who weren't selected can go through the same process in 2018.

The change comes after The Canadian Press reported earlier this yearthat the previous system was seeing couriers charge more than $400 to guarantee applications would be at the top of the pile.

That raised concerns that the visas were going to those who could afford to pay the high fees or camp out for hours at the Mississauga, Ont., immigration office, the only place in Canada accepting the forms.

Last week, McCallum announced the government would cut the waiting time for family reunification by half, promising to complete the process in one year from an average of two years.

The government will admit 20,000 parents and grandparents to Canada under the program in 2017, the same number as this year.

Parents and grandparents of Canadian citizens or permanent residents can also apply for a super visa, which allows them to extend a visit for up to two years after the initial entry into Canada. A 10-year multiple-entry visa allows several visits of up to six months at a time.

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Source: CBC News

Photo: Canada is changing the immigration application process for reunification of parents and grandparents. (Andrew Vaughan/The Canadian Press)