Family reunification is a key immigration commitment of the Government in Canada for 2017 with changes to how the programme works starting in the New Year.

It used to be that there was a mad rush at the beginning of January for applications being submitted for the parent and grandparent visa programme, but 2017 will be different.

From 03 January 2017 sponsorship applications for the visa stream will avoid the January rush and still brings together thousands of families under changes announced by Immigration Minister John McCallum.

In recent years, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada limited the number of parent and grandparent applications it would accept, in order to manage intake and interest in the programme and keep the number of applications from growing.

Now those wanting to bring their parents or grandparents to Canada will have 30 days to fill out an online form to indicate their interest. IRCC will then randomly choose 10,000 individuals from those who filled out the form and those people will be invited to send in their complete application package.

‘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,’ said McCallum.

The form will ask for the individual’s first name, family name, date of birth, country of birth, main home address, postal code and email address.

An IRCC spokesman explained that once the information is successfully submitted through the online form, the individual will get a confirmation number. ‘They should keep this number for their records. They will need to submit only one online form, as duplicate entries will be removed. Completing the form will not mean a person has applied to sponsor under the programme,’ he said.

At the end of the 30 days, IRCC will remove the duplicates, randomly choose 10,000 people and ask them to complete the full application. IRCC will let everyone who completed an online form know whether they were chosen or not. Only those who were randomly chosen will be invited to apply to the parent and grandparent programme.

Those who were invited to apply will have 90 days to submit their complete application to IRCC. The 2017 application kit and guide will be available on IRCC’s website from 09 January 2017.

Interested sponsors who are not selected will be able to indicate their interest to apply again in 2018.