Immigrants hoping to reunite with their families through the federal government program. Parent and Grandparent Program Applications will be invited starting October 10, but for the fourth year in a row, those invitations will only be given to eligible applicants who expressed interest before 2020.
And even then, as has been the case since 2017, those invitations will be selected at random in a lottery.
“We try not to make any promises,” said Laila Joud, 34, who wants to sponsor her parents so they can move from Syria to Ottawa to live with her family. Joud is now a permanent resident who moved to Canada from Syria via Qatar with her husband and her son in 2019. She was also pregnant at the time.
His parents divide their time between Syria and Qatar, waiting for the opportunity to come to Canada.
“The current situation in Syria (economic and social) is just not the best and I would love the opportunity to give them the opportunity to be here,” said the communications specialist who works at a non-profit organization in Ottawa. .
“It will mean they will have a better life.”
Joud has not been able to include his name in the program’s drawing as he was not eligible in 2020, the last time the federal government accepted Interest from Sponsor (ITS) applications.
More than 200,000 potential sponsors expressed interest in bringing their family members to Canada that year, said IRCC spokesperson Isabelle Dubois.
“Given the volume of ‘interest to sponsor’ received in 2020 that still remain in the pool, IRCC will again use the 2020 submission pool for 2023 intake,” Dubois said.
Over a two-week period starting Oct. 10, IRCC will begin sending invitations to 24,200 people to apply, Dubois said. Of these, IRCC expects to process 15,000 successful applications.
“We don’t understand the reason behind this,” said Joud, who was hopeful that the government would accept new STI applicants this year.
“I understand the complications and everything that is affecting this process but I want an opportunity like many others.”
Super visa is not a substitute
“I think everyone can agree that having the last expression of interest, the last ability to put your name, in 2020, is really unfair,” said Tamara Mosher-Kuczer, senior attorney and founder of Lighthouse Immigration Law.
“If they didn’t make the group in 2020, this is another year, another draw that bypassed them,” he said.
And even if someone is lucky enough to be selected to apply, “they would have to wait at least probably two years for the application to be processed,” Mosher-Kuczer said.
There is another more expensive option, he said. Parents and grandparents can apply for a Canadian visa. super visa allowing them to visit their children or grandchildren for up to five years.
“The problem is they have to pay for health insurance for as long as the family members are here,” Mosher-Kuczer said. “And family members can’t work. So it’s prohibitive for a lot of people.”
In fact, Joud’s parents came to Canada on a super visa, but decided it was too restrictive and have since returned home.
Get your paperwork in order
Mosher-Kuczer has some advice for people in the 2020 class.
“Start gathering supporting documents now,” he said. “If you get one of these invitations, it’s the golden ticket.
It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, you’re unlikely to be invited again. So you should be able to submit that application within 60 days.
It’s not a lot of time to get everything together, but if you wait, you’re facing a tight deadline, he said.
“A lot of this information is difficult to collect and then everything has to be translated according to the very strict specifications of the IRCC,” he said, adding that the process can be expensive.
“But people don’t want to spend money to start doing those translations, getting those documents and getting those police clearances.”
Mosher-Kuczer said he also wishes the government would institute a weighted lottery: The longer you’ve been on the list, the better your chances of being selected.
Joud is still hopeful that the government will soon reopen the parent and grandparent sponsorship program for people who are not already in the group.
“There are obvious reasons,” he said. “Being immigrants in the country. Being far from family. Being in a country where you hardly have anyone. It’s just having that family bond, having them with my children.
“I’m waiting for the day.”