Immigration sponsorship lottery draws nearly 100k applications

The government's new system for deciding who can sponsor a parent or grandparent to come to Canada seems to be working, according to officials. File, The Canadian Press

About 95,000 would-be sponsors vied for a chance to bring a parent or grandparent to Canada this winter, new data released by Citizenship and Immigration Canada reveals.

Just one in 10 of those sponsorship hopefuls (10,000 total) were ultimately successful, but the government says the new lottery system it introduced last year is working to make the process fairer.

Between Jan. 3 and Feb. 2, 2017, interested family members eligible to sponsor a new arrival were able to fill out an online form. Of those, 10,000 were randomly selected, according to a release issued Thursday.

“These 10,000 applications represent approximately 17,000 people, as a sponsorship application can include more than one person,” the department noted.

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Those parents and grandparents won’t be arriving in Canada tomorrow, however.

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The 10,000 people who ‘won’ the lottery must still fill out a formal application for approval within 90 days. There’s also an existing backlog in the parent and grandparent line that, at the end of 2016, stood at about 41,500 people.

The government’s immigration plan currently sets the total number of parents and grandparents Canada is willing to welcome each year at 20,000. A further 64,000 people (who are not the parent or grandparent of the sponsor) are also expected to arrive via the same family reunification program.

In total, Canada is set to welcome 300,000 permanent residents this year.

Prior to 2017, the parent/grandparent sponsorship hopefuls were processed first come, first served. That drew criticism as some people were able to strategize (or pay) to get their paperwork in more quickly.

Those who did not win a chance to apply in this year’s inaugural lottery will have the opportunity to try again in 2018, the government promised.

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