May 11, 2017 – Nearly 2,000 Canadians have signed a petition outlining their frustration with new parents and grandparents sponsorship immigration rules.
The new lottery system ‘mocks a very serious family issue of reunification’, according to the wording of the petition. It should have been phased in gradually, with priority given to sponsors making repeated applications, the petition says.
Previously, the government operated a first-come, first-served system for the allocated Canada immigration places for parent and grandparent sponsorship. This year the system was changed to a lottery, with the change only announced a few weeks before the application process was due to open under the old system.
Wording of Petition e-739
- Many people have prepared a Family Reunification Application for submission in 2017 only to be surprised by a sudden change;
- No warnings were given which is causing family and financial hardship; and
- Lottery system mocks a very serious family issue of reunification.
We, the undersigned, citizens and permanent residents of Canada, call upon the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship to:
- Repeal the December 2016 change until a more comprehensive plan can be formulated and give people the opportunity to provide feedback about the coming changes;
- Phase the changes in over the course of a few years, allowing the people who have prepared for 2017 to submit as per usual; and
- Give previous lottery losers priority in the subsequent years if they do not make it in previous year lottery.
With many sponsors having already spent significant time and money in preparing their applications under the old system, the 11th hour change, aimed at making the system fairer, was not popular.
The new system gave a one month window for all sponsors to register their interest. From those registered, 10,000 names were drawn at random to submit full applications. With more than 95,000 sponsors registering, it meant 85,000 were rejected. The government plans to run the same lottery in early 2018.
Under the old system, there was a mad rush to submit applications when the window was opened in early January. Some courier firms were found to be charging extortionate prices to guarantee the applications were delivered, including waiting in lines at the processing centre.
Specific Sponsor Requirements for Parent and Grandparent Program
- Demonstrate, for a period of 3 consecutive years prior to sponsorship, income greater than the minimum published by IRCC.
- Sign an undertaking to financially support the parent or grandparent, and reimburse the government for any social assistance paid out to the relative, for a period of 20 years from the date of permanent residence.
Note: Further general requirements also apply
But critics say the new system has not been thought through properly, causing ‘family and financial hardship’ and leaving a feeling of hopelessness.
The critics are taking issue with the lack of information required to enter the lottery, with onerous requirements for sponsorship not reflected in the initial questionnaire.
Canada Makes Draw For 10,000 Parents and Grandparents Sponsorship Places
New Form For Parent And Grandparent Sponsorship Now Available (Audio)
New Rules for Canada’s Parent and Grandparent Sponsorship Program (Audio)
Petition e-739, now closed, drew 1,863 signatures. It was sponsored by Liberal MP Marwan Tabbara.
Those with more than 500 signatures and MP sponsorship can be raised in parliament and require a written response inside 45 days.
The government plans to welcome 20,000 new parent and grandparent immigrants in 2017, the same as 2016.
Rules For Establishing Whether Sponsor Meets Income Requirements
- Only official documents issued by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) will be accepted to demonstrate income for the three years prior to submission;
- If a co-signer is included in the sponsorship application, the combined income of the co-signer and the sponsor will be considered;
- Any amounts from the following sources will be deducted from the sponsor and co-signer’s income for the purposes of financial eligibility:
- Provincial allowances received for a program of instruction or training;
- Social assistance received from a province;
- Financial assistance received from the Government of Canada under a resettlement program;
- Amounts received under the Employment Insurance Act, other than special benefits;
- Monthly guaranteed income supplement received under the Old Age Security Act;
- Canada child tax benefit received under the Income Tax Act;
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