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Canada adopts lottery system for reuniting immigrants with parents, grandparents

Canada’s first Parent Visa Lottery has attracted 95,000 applicants all of whom are hoping to that their parents will nab one of the 10 000 spots reserved for parents or grandparents to join their children and grandchildren in the country.

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Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada brought in the new lottery process this year to replace the former first-come, first-served system.

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The change is aimed at making the system fairer and more transparent after complaints the process was skewed by geography and an applicant's ability to pay a lawyer or other representative to get to the head of the queue.

Dory Jade, the chief executive officer of the Canadian Association of Professional Immigration Consultants, said the lottery system makes the process more transparent and gives people equal chances.

Between the 3rd of January and the 2nd of February last year sponsors filled out a web-based form to take part in the lottery, and the Immigration Department says the number who participated reflects the "popularity" of the parent and grandparent program.

"This is the first year this new process will be in place so we will monitor results to see if adjustments are needed for next year," said spokesperson Carl Beauchamp.

Of those who filled out the online form, Immigration randomly selected 10,000 sponsors and sent an email inviting them to submit an application. The department also contacted those who weren't picked to let them know about the results.

17,000 people are expected to enter the country through the lottery.

Last year, the government doubled the number of sponsorship spots for parents and grandparents to 10,000 from 5,000.
Those 10,000 applications are expected to lead to 17,000 sponsored people because an application can be for more than one person.

Parents and grandparents of Canadian citizens or permanent residents can also apply for a super visa, which allows them to extend a visit for up to two years after the initial entry into Canada.

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A 10-year multiple-entry visa allows several visits of up to six months at a time.

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