Race to apply for parent sponsorship left some thrilled, others in the dust

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By Darlene Casten

Twenty thousand spots for parent/grandparent sponsorship were snapped up in just over 10 minutes at the end of January, leaving many people disappointed and others with hope.

Maria Deeroque hired an immigration consultant to handle her mother’s immigration and was overjoyed to hear they were able to get the application in within the few minutes the program was open.

“I’m super, super happy about that,” she says.

Her 72-year-old mother has been in Canada since 2015 on a tourist visa that will expire in spring 2020.

“She’s only in the Philippines by herself,” Deeroque says. “She likes it in Canada.

I like her to be with me. She’s enjoying my daughter. She doesn’t want to go back to the Philippines.”

Deeroque says she knows they are fortunate her mother’s application was submitted in time.

“I’ve got an auntie here, my cousin’s mother, but she didn’t get in,” she says.

Immigration consultant and Foothills Immigration Group owner, Leann Iamartino, handled Deeroque’s application. She says they carefully vetted potential parent/grandparent applicants ahead of time.

“We gave people a free assessment,” Iamartino says, explaining they wanted to make sure anyone they submitted an application for fit all the government’s criteria.

The short cut off for applications was predictable, she says, and they wanted to make sure they were able to input all of their client’s applications.

“I knew that was going to happen,” she says. “Our prediction was less than 15 minutes.”

Iamartino had six computers with staff to input the applications as soon as the program opened and says they were able to enter an application in about a minute-and-half.

“We were typing so fast, it was crazy,” she says.

Foothills Immigration Group had seven clients, all Filipinos, seeking parent/grandparent sponsorship. She says it is unfortunate that some people were not able to submit their application in time.

“I don’t agree with it,” she says. “I don’t think it’s fair.”

Allowing people several days to input their information and then having a combination of first come first served and a random draw makes more sense, she says.

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada spokesperson, Mathieu Genest, says in an email that the first come first served process was initiated based on feedback.

“After extensive consultations and hearing directly from Canadians across the country, we implemented this first come first serve online system to ensure it was fair and created safeguards to ensure the system is not abused,” he writes. “We are dedicated to getting the application process right. We have taken the time to listen to and address concerns from clients and stakeholders about the previous random selection process, and that is why we introduced a first-in-first-served approach for 2019.”

The next step is the government will extend invitations to apply to the parent/grandparent program for those who were able to submit the initial application.

The processing time for the parent/grandparent program is up to two years.