Immigration Lottery Winners Can Formally Apply to Sponsor Parents, Grandparents

Immigrants hoping to bring their parents or grandparents to permanently live in Canada will soon find out if they are lucky enough to win a coveted spot through the lottery process to reunite families.

Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) is starting to notify potential sponsors, who filled out online forms last fall, expressing their wishes to resettle a relative. The notification process will take place over the next 10 days.

After eliminating duplicate and incomplete forms, IRCC officials randomly selected 10,000 individuals, inviting them to submit a formal application.

Tens of thousands of immigrants desperate to sponsor their loved ones are frustrated each year by the program.

The government reverted to lotteries after last year’s “first come, first served” online system struggled. The lottery system itself replaced a first-in process which saw applicants sprint to get physical documents to processing centres.

In a statement to the CBC, Immigration Minister Marco Mendicino called the parent-grandparent sponsorship program a “progressive, compassionate and wholly unique to Canadian program.”

“Reuniting families is a central part of our immigration policy, which is why our government has done more than any other in Canadian history to keep families together,” he said. “When families succeed, Canada succeeds.”

Mendicino said that, due to difficulties from the global pandemic, the government loosened income requirements and allowed more flexible timelines.

Mendicino has previously said that while the government is always open to improving the process, the lottery system is the fairest way to manage family reunification immigration. The Parent and Grandparents sponsorship program this year will have 30,000 spots.

An electronic petition to Mendicino, which is now open for signatures on the House of Commons website, says the fact that the government previously scrapped the lottery system was an acknowledgement that the process is “deeply flawed.”

Presented by NDP immigration critic Jenny Kwan, the petition calls on the government to explain the decision to return to the lottery, release documents on consultations that led to the change and carry out a study to create a better, more fair application process.

“Recognize the positive benefits for family reunification and create a compassionate system without arbitrary caps,” the e-petition reads.

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