The Hill Times - Family sponsorship process flawed, merit-based program needed
February 13, 2019
The 2019 round for selecting 20,000 applicants to be invited to apply to sponsor a parent or grandparent to immigrate to Canada opened at noon EST on Jan. 28. Within minutes, the process was closed as the required number of applications had been submitted online. Effectively, a decision on who would be among the 20,000 to be invited was made in a matter of minutes. Some may have missed applying because of having a slow internet server, which cannot be considered a valid reason for failing to be considered eligible for applying.
There are two main flaws in this year’s procedure. Firstly, since those who fail to be invited have to apply again the following year; the procedure does not differentiate between those who may have been applying over several years and first-time applicants. Secondly, it fails to take into account the differing circumstances of the sponsored. It treats the same: (a) those having all their children in Canada, and those who may have one child in Canada and another four in the country of origin. With family reunification being the fundamental aim of the parent and grandparent program, it is evident that the former should get priority; (b) those having small grandchildren whom they can take care of, and those having none for whom they can provide help. As such, it fails to align selection to the purposes of immigration as reflected in Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s statement made during the 2015 election campaign: “When Canadians have added supports like family involvement in child care, it helps drive productivity and economic growth.”
I hope Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada will assess this year’s experience and consider switching from chance-based selection procedures to one that allows selection based on the needs of families, the circumstances of those sponsored, and the impact on the Canadian economy. It should consider a merit-based system.
This article is written by Dr. Ghazy Mujahid, Board Member of OSSCO's Board of Directors.
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