95,000 sponsors vie for 10,000 spots in lottery to bring parents, grandparents to Canada

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More than 95,000 people took part in the first immigration lottery, hoping to win a spot to bring their parents or grandparents to Canada.

With only 10,000 spots available, that put the odds at roughly one-in-10.

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada brought in the new lottery process this year to replace the former first come, first served system.

The change aimed to make the system more fair and transparent after complaints the process was skewed by geography and an applicant’s ability to pay a lawyer or other representative to get to the head of the queue.

Between Jan. 3 and Feb. 2, sponsors could fill out a web-based form to take part in the lottery, and IRCC says the number who participated reflects the “popularity” of the parent and grandparent program.

“This is the first year this new process will be in place, so we will monitor results to see if adjustments are needed for next year,” said spokesperson Carl Beauchamp.

Of those who filled out the online form, IRCC randomly selected 10,000 sponsors and sent an email inviting them to submit an application. The department also contacted those who weren’t picked to let them know about the results.

The family reunification program has been plagued with massive backlogs in past, as the number of applicants far exceeded the limited number of spots. The logjam peaked in 2011 with a backlog of 167,007 applications, which had decreased to 40,511 by the end of 2016.

17,000 people expected

Last year, the government doubled the number of sponsorship spots for parents and grandparents to 10,000 from 5,000. Those 10,000 applications are expected to lead to 17,000 sponsored people, because an application can be for more than one person.

Parents and grandparents of Canadian citizens or permanent residents can also apply for a super visa, which allows them to extend a visit for up to two years after the initial entry into Canada.

A 10-year multiple-entry visa allows several visits of up to six months at a time.

Citizenship ceremony Whitehorse

Sixty-seven people became Canadian citizens at a ceremony in Whitehorse, Nov. 9. (Cheryl Kawaja/CBC)

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95,000 sponsors vie for 10,000 spots in lottery to bring parents, grandparents to Canada

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