The federal government launched a new online intake process for the sponsorship of parents and grandparents (PGP) at noon Eastern time on January 28th. In less than 11 minutes of being online and 27,000 “interest to sponsor” online forms signed and submitted, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) closed the site, leaving a number of Canadians hoping to avail of the program frustrated.
According to CBC news, Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen’s spokesperson Mathieu Genest announced, “We can confirm over 100,000 individuals attempted to access the interest to sponsor form.” IRCC put a cap of 27,000 interest to sponsor submissions for this year from which a maximum of 20,000 complete applications will be processed.
The new process is based on a first-in, first-served approach, replacing the old lottery system. The new system moved the process of selection from “chance” based on the lottery system to one that pits those with computer dexterity and fast internet speed against those who have disabilities, are either computer illiterate or do not have access to a computer or the internet.
Conservative MP Michelle Rempel, opposition minister for IRCC, weighed in on the issue in the House of Commons on the same day. Rempel spoke of how “over a billion dollars on 40,000 illegal border crossers” have been spent. She added, “However, today, the forum that allows parents and grandparents of new Canadians who are trying to legally migrate to Canada for all of 2019 opened and closed in just 10 minutes. Therefore, under the Liberals, illegal border crossers get a red carpet welcome and legal immigrants get the door shut in their face.”
Following receipt of the “interest to sponsor” submissions, potential sponsors are then invited to submit a complete application in the order of when their submissions were received. Potential sponsors will have 60 calendar days from the date of their invitation to ensure that the IRCC received their complete application for sponsorship.
A 2019 cap of 20,000 complete applications is in effect but processing times are said to have been reduced from seven to eight years down to two.
The PGP program is a family reunification program that gives opportunities for Canadians and permanent residents to bring their parents and grandparents to Canada to live permanently.
Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Ahmed Hussen confirms family reunification as an immigration priority for the Government of Canada. “It supports Canada’s economic prosperity and further strengthens our communities,” Hussen said in a media release by the IRCC. “Parents and grandparents often help care for children, increasing their parents’ ability to work and study, and to make meaningful contributions to their communities.”
The electronic process includes a requirement for potential sponsors to upload a copy of their status in Canada when submitting their interest to sponsor form. The form itself is touted to have been enhanced to include features that will help IRCC detect duplicate submissions and potential fraud.