On Monday, October 5, 2020, the Immigration Minister of Canada, Marco E. L. Mendicino, announced the re-implementation of a plan-of-action called the Parents and Grandparents (PGP) Program to reunite people living abroad with their loved ones in Canada. The program is being reintroduced by the Canadian Government after being suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Permanent Canadian residents will have the opportunity to submit an interest to sponsor form for their parents or grandparents to come to Canada for permanent residency beginning on October 13, 2020. After the three week application period is over, Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) will invite the randomly chosen applicants to submit a request to take part in the parent grandparent sponsorship program.
This year, the applicants for the parent grandparent sponsorship program will be chosen at random. In a statement to CBC News, Mendicino said, “We think this is the fairest way in which to administer the intake and to invite expressions of interest”.
The people selected for the parent grandparent sponsorship program will have 60 days to complete and submit their forms. Usually, 20,000 people are eligible for the program but due to COVID-19, only 10,000 applicants will be selected this year and 30,000 next year.
“We know that last year there was a high demand and there were some individuals who were disadvantaged by the intake process, so we wanted to create a level playing field as much as possible,” Mendicino told CBC News on Monday.
The controversial lottery-based system replaced an online first come, first served application system that some applicants felt was unfair due to some people being unable to access a computer or complete the forms quickly enough.
In 2018, the government scrapped an in-person first come, first served application process that led to the applicants of the parent grandparent sponsorship program rushing to service centers in January and standing in line for hours. The IRCC replaced this first come, first served application process with the lottery-based system they will be using in 2020 and 2021.
In a tweet released by the Honourable Marco E. L. Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship, he calls the program a pathway to the reunification of Canadian families during a difficult time.
While the lottery selection process is daunting to some, the opportunity the Government of Canada is giving its residents to reunite with their loved ones through the parent grandparent sponsorship program is priceless.
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