January 5, 2017 – The new federal government ‘Interest to Sponsor’ form for those wishing to bring parents and grandparents to Canada has gone live following an overhaul of the application process.
Canadian citizens and permanent residents have until February 2, 2017 to complete the form, after which 10,000 candidates will be drawn at ran
dom and invited to complete a full application.
The new system replaces the previous one, under which applications were opened in early January and accepted on a first-come, first-served basis.
The result was a mad rush of sponsors trying to get their applications to the Mississauga processing centre in time, with couriers charging extortionate fees to wait in line.
Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has tried to simplify the process with the new lottery format, although many say the move came significantly too late, in December 2016.
Immigration Minister John McCallum said in December that the change was in response to feedback from those who have been through the process.
“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,” he said.
“We’re ensuring everyone can access the application process by giving them the same chance to have their name chosen.”
However, many potential sponsors began compiling their applications under the old system early in 2016, at significant expense.
Hundreds of dollars have been spent, as well as time, on courier and notarization fees, ensuring the applications were ready.
While applicants see the intent behind the government’s move, there is also the feeling that candidates face the prospect of never being chosen under the lottery system.
The new form is available from January 3 to February 2, 2017. Those selected in the draw will then have 90 days to apply. Those not selected will be able to follow the same process in 2018.
The initial form asks for the individual’s first name, family name, date of birth, country of birth, main home address, postal code and email address. Once submitted, applicants will get a confirmation number. Duplicates will be deleted.
Canada expects to welcome 20,000 parents and grandparents under the 2017 immigration plan.
The government recently introduced a new 12-month standard processing time for family reunification immigration applications.
IRCC has made a concerted effort to reduce processing times since the Liberal government came to power.
After successfully reducing the wait by 15 per cent for in-Canada applicants and 10 per cent for those applying from outside, now the immigration department says it will get most applications processed inside a year, although it admits complex cases will require more time.
Parents and grandparents also have the option of applying for a super visa to enter Canada, valid for 10 years and allowing them to stay for up to two years at a time.
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