Canada scraps family reunification lottery

Ahmed Hussen

OTTAWA  –  The Canadian government  said on Monday that it is scrapping a family reunification lottery and going back to a first-come, first-serve immigration policy as it looks to double the number of parents and grandparents admitted to the country.

The change back to the old system follows a backlash from frustrated sponsors who described the lottery as “cruel,” “heartless” and a “Vegas-like circus.”

Last year when the lottery was introduced, more than 95,000 filled out an online form to be entered in a draw, but just 10,000 potential sponsors were selected.

Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen said Canada will accept up to 20 000 applications for the sponsorship of parents and grandparents, in 2019. This is 4 times the number of applications accepted when the program reopened in 2014, when the cap was set at 5000 applications.

This decision to increase the number of applications that Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) will accept for processing is a result of continually high demand in the Parents and Grandparents (PGP) Program, he noted.

Minister Hussen also announced that, as a result of listening to stakeholders and closely examining the PGP Program, the government is making further changes to the application intake process that will streamline access to the program and improve client experience.

The Immigration Minister  said that In 2019, as in previous years, the Interest to Sponsor form will be available online, at the beginning of the year, so eligible potential sponsors can let IRCC know they wish to sponsor their parents and grandparents to come to Canada.

However, instead of randomly selecting the sponsors to apply, potential sponsors will be  invited to submit an application to sponsor their parents and grandparents based on the order in which their Interest to Sponsor forms are received.