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Ask Tito Mike by Michael Scott  

The sponsorship of parents

& grandparents in 2017

by Michael Scott

Many people, including those who work professionally in the immigration field, have been waiting for IRCC to announce changes in the immigration forms for the sponsorship of parents and grandparents. In years past, the changes were released in December, prior to the submission dates in January 2015 or 2016. But this process is changing. I, for one, have been checking the federal websites daily for news on the program. If you have been following the federal announcements, you already know that there will be a cap of 10,000 applications for 2017 and that the program is set to re-open on January 3, 2017. This information remains in place but there are major changes in the way you submit an application and in the way your application is selected for assessment or not.

In the past, such as 2016, completed applications would not be accepted before the actual opening date of the program and it was on a first-come-first-served basis. The system was highly competitive and our firm was fortunate to have several completed applications accepted for assessment. If anything was missing or questions unanswered, the entire application would be returned. This system had its advantages and disadvantages and was something we all faced annually. The intake system has been reworked for applications for the sponsorship of parents and grandparents in 2017. It is important to understand the changes.

In an announcement made on Wednesday, December 14, 2016, IRCC reaffirmed its commitment to family reunification but also announced major changes in the program. The cap of 10,000 applications is unchanged but the submission and selection process has been reworked. Minister John McCallum explained:

“We’re listening to what past applicants had to say and making the process fairer for people who want to sponsor their parents or grandparents. We’re ensuring everyone can access the application process by giving them the same chance to have their name chosen.”

Thank you Minister for listening. What about other options? IRCC could have approached the problem in a different way. What about getting rid of the artificial cap and processing applications according to demand? This is an alternative approach, but not one that we face at this time.

The sponsorship of parents and grandparents will reopen on January 3, 2017. However, IRCC is not soliciting or accepting applications at that time. Rather interested parties must wait for the January 3, 2017 opening of an online profile submission option, which sounds much like the expression of interest option we have become accustomed to for skilled workers applying to the federal express entry system, or those submitting profiles to MPNP. We do not know at this time the questions to be asked as part of the profile but we understand that there will be at least a 30-day time limit to perfect your submissions and ensure that they are complete. The next step is to wait for IRCC to make a decision about which profiles they select. IRCC will not select profiles on the basis on points but rather make random selections. This selection therefore is based on luck or a lottery system. If you are lucky, you are picked and invited to apply. If you are not lucky or the 30-day window has closed, your only option presumably is to wait for 2018.

Is this system fairer than the one in place for 2016 or 2015? We have to wait and see. There are obvious advantages, especially for IRCC to deal with backlogs. Profile submissions are not applications as such and therefore IRCC has no continuing responsibility to those not selected. For practitioners and users alike, the challenge is to wait and see what is involved in the online profile submission. It is the new way of doing things. Once you have completed this and pressed submit, you sit and wait to find out if you were one of the lucky 10,000. Happy New Year, and good luck with your online submission.

Michael Scott is a Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant (RCIC, R525678) who has 30 years of experience with Canada Immigration and the Manitoba Provincial Nominee Program. He currently works as a licensed consultant with R.B. Global Immigration Consultants Ltd. 204-691-1166 or 204-227-0292. E-mail: mscott.ici@gmail.com

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