Canada’s first-come, first-served parents and grandparents sponsorship program went live online on January 28 at NOON Eastern Standard Time.
Within minutes some 100,000 people had attempted to access and complete the expression of interest to sponsor form. IRCC’s target for parents and grandparents sponsorship to Canada in 2019 is 27,000. That target was hit within eleven minutes.
Once the target was reached, the IRCC expression of interest to sponsor form closed. IRCC tweeted that the applications received had met the annual limit and the form had been closed to new applicants,
sparking a flood of protests on IRCC’s social media channels from frustrated would-be applicants who said they were either unable to access the form or were in the process of completing a form but could not because the intake ended. Many users said they had cleared their schedules and set up their computers to fill out the online form — only to find it shut down within minutes.
As a result some users say the new system is flawed and unfair. One frustrated user Naimul Khan wrote on Twitter: “This is not a concert ticket you are selling, this is about uniting families. The whole process is atrocious”.
Mathieu Genest, press secretary for Canada’s Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, Ahmed Hussen, stated that “Initial analysis indicates that there were no technical issues when the form opened [Monday] and that we have received the maximum number of submissions for 2019,” Genest said in a statement to CIC News.
“We understand that those who were not able to make a submission are disappointed.”
Genest said IRCC did “extensive testing” to ensure the intake system could handle the expected volume. IRCC also took steps to ensure the first-in system “was fair and created safeguards to ensure the system is not abused,” Genest added, pointing to the implementation of anti-bot features to ensure that “submissions received were legitimate.”
Toronto immigration lawyer Aris Daghighian said his office is exploring what appear to be system glitches that prevented some computers, IP addresses and applicants from accessing the link and the form until it was too late — even when the applicants had attempted to load the form at the specified time and frequently refreshed the page.
“It was always going to be a race, but it seems like some just weren’t able to start the race,” he stated. Daghighian further said that if there’s evidence the process was proceduraly unfair, his clients could consider legal action against IRCC.
IRCC’s new online system was created to ensure the process for sponsoring parents and grandparents was fair and had safeguards to prevent abuse. It is a first-in, first-served approach that replaced the previous randomized invitations “lottery” process. See Canada will reopen Parents and Grandparents Program January 28.
Who is eligible to sponsor a parent or grandparent?
Before you apply, find out how much money you need to sponsor your parents and grandparents. You’ll have to prove you have this income in your application.
You can sponsor your own parents and grandparents if:
- you’re at least 18 years old
- you live in Canada
- you’re a Canadian citizen, a permanent resident of Canada, or a person registered in Canada as an Indian under the Canadian Indian Act
- you have enough money to support the persons you want to sponsor
- To show that you have enough, you’ll have to provide your proof of income.
If you live outside Quebec
To become a sponsor, you must promise to financially take care of the persons you are sponsoring for a period of time. We call this promise an undertaking.
The undertaking commits you to:
- providing financial support for your sponsored family members for 20 years, starting when they become permanent residents
- repaying any provincial social assistance (money from the government) your sponsored family members get during that time
Also, you and your sponsored family members need to agree to certain responsibilities during the undertaking period. We call this the sponsorship agreement.
The sponsorship agreement means that:
- you’ll provide for the basic needs of your sponsored family members
- the person you sponsor will make every effort to support themselves and their family members
When you apply, you’ll have to complete and sign a form that includes the undertaking and the sponsorship agreement.
If you live in Quebec
You must also sign an undertaking with the province of Quebec.
Who can’t sponsor a parent or grandparent
You can’t sponsor your parents and grandparents if:
- you’re less than 18 years old
- you won’t live in Canada when you apply to sponsor your parents and grandparents and/or when your parents and grandparents become permanent residents
- Your primary residential address must be in Canada when you submit your application and until we make a decision on your application.
- you’re not a Canadian citizen, a permanent resident of Canada, or a person registered in Canada as an Indian under the Canadian Indian Act
- you’re a temporary resident, that is you’re visiting, studying or working in Canada on a visa or permit
- your permanent residence application is still in process
- You must have permanent resident status at the time you submit your sponsorship application.
- your proof of income shows you don’t have enough money to support the persons you want to sponsor
You may not be eligible to sponsor your parents and grandparents if you:
- are in jail, prison, or penitentiary
- didn’t pay back:
- an immigration loan
- a performance bond
- court-ordered family support payments such as alimony or child support F
- didn’t give the financial support you agreed to when you signed a sponsorship agreement to sponsor someone else in the past
- declared bankruptcy and are not discharged
- receive social assistance for a reason other than a disability
- were convicted of a violent criminal offence, any offence against a relative or any sexual offence inside or outside Canada
- can’t legally stay in Canada and must leave the country because you received a Removal Order
There may be other reasons that make you ineligible to sponsor your parents and grandparents. If IRCC determines that you are not eligible to sponsor, you will provided with the reasons. See Sponsor your parents and grandparents: Check if you’re eligible