As promised, I would like to share with you my journey of bringing my parents to Canada. As much as I want to share how the whole application process went, I guess this will be the last one for my supposedly series of post (for now).
The Immigration, Refugee & Citizenship Canada (IRCC) opened up the online interest to sponsor form for the Parent and Grandparent Program (PGP), as I previously mentioned in my past blog posts, I am one of the many Canadian immigrants who really want to bring my parents to Canada.
Unlike other people I know who are also eager to apply as potential sponsors, I did not take a day off from work (good thing I did not) but I decided to take an early break to make sure that I am ready as soon as the clock hits 11:00 AM CST (12:00 EST). Early January, it was announced that the online application opens on January 28th, since then, I have been monitoring updates regarding the program so that I am aware of the steps on how to apply as well as the requirements. I spent the past two weeks making sure that I am prepared. Why not? For the past 6 years, I have already spent much effort, time and money preparing the required forms and documentation to apply for my mother and father to immigrate to Canada from Philippines.
At noon (EST) today I made sure that my computer was set up, I managed to get on the website but the form did not load on my first try, the form loaded on my third try, I typed all the information required as fast as I can. Though I had issues putting my parents’ information when I had to add my mother, I still managed to complete the form in 6 or 7 minutes — but by the time I hit the submit button, the application window had closed.
At first, I actually didn’t believe what I am seeing in my computer screen, I even tried to refresh my screen (after I took a screen shot of it). How can it just take less than 10 minutes for people to snap up 27,000 online applications? I went to IRCC’s Twitter account, true enough, a newly posted tweet was up – IRCC had met the annual limit for the received applications and the form had been closed to new applicants.
I will not deny that I felt that what had happened was not right, how can that happen that 27,000 slots will be filled up in 7 minutes? Then I start to receive messages in my Facebook account and text messages from my friends who also tried to submit their interest to sponsor form. We all have the same fate; none of us were able to successfully submit our application. I really feel upset about what just happened. I am so heartbroken, no, I am disappointed or should I say hopeless? Up to now, I can’t find the right words to describe my disappointment. This is the third or fourth time that I tried to apply. I did not stop trying even if the process keeps changing but I cannot seem to make any headway in making it possible to bring my parents here with us as permanent residents.
Facebook and Twitter were flooded with posts from would-be applicants who are frustrated with the new PGP application intake which we all thought was a better system than the lottery system for the past 2 years.
When I first knew about the change in the PGP processing to controversial randomized selection process in 2017, I actually felt that IRCC doesn’t really see how sensitive and important “family reunification” for us immigrants to just change the selection process to a “botched” system. Then here comes this new system, wherein it felt like we were waiting for the opening of ticket sale of a much-awaited concert.
Maybe I share the same thoughts and feelings with all the other would-be sponsor applicants – the promise of family reunification is one of the reasons that convinced and pursued us to move to Canada. And it is frustrating that no matter how hard we work to meet the eligibility requirements to become sponsor and no matter how hard we try to be one of the fortunate applicants, our luck isn’t in our hands.
I hope that the Canadian government will take family reunification with more sensitivity and consideration. Some may think that the Canadian government’s decision to limit family reunification is just right since parents and grandparent can no longer be part of Canada’s work force. But for us, who have been working hard and trying everything we can to finally be reunited with our parents or grandparents, it is one of the most important accomplishments. It is more than about experiencing the joy and happiness of having our parents or grandparents nearby and the relief or assurance that their wellbeing is taken care of. For us migrants, families also play an essential role in our economic integration, it increases our ability to contribute to the community and enable us to become strong and economically independent members of the community. Our parents and/or grandparents are our partners and our solid support system in building a successful life in our new home country.