This article was originally published on January 28.
Many Canadians are completely outraged today after applications to a government program sponsoring immigrant family members into the country closed only 11 minutes after it was opened. The government opened applications to the 2019 Parent and Grandparent Program today at 12 PM Eastern time on January 28. Many Canadians are now heartbroken that they could not apply in time to sponsor their family members because the applications closed minutes after opening.
The government announced only minutes after applications were opened on Twitter that they had already reached the limit for the 2019 year, meaning people could no longer apply for the sponsorship program this year. It was closed so quickly that people were still in the process of filling out the application before they realized the application window was already closed. Their announcement on Twitter was at 12:11 PM Eastern time, 11 minutes after the application was opened at 12 PM Eastern time.
This means that Canadians that were hoping to submit their applications for the 2019 Parent and Grandparent Program have to wait at least another year before they can apply for sponsorship for their family members.
This program is for "Canadian citizens [or] permanent residents living in Canada who want to sponsor [parents or grandparents] living abroad", says the government website, according to MTLBlog.
The interest to sponsor form for the 2019 Parent and Grandparent Program is now closed. If you successfully submitted the form, you should receive an email within 24 hours confirming we received it. Find out what happens next: https://t.co/4jRG4gnZBp— IRCC (@CitImmCanada) January 28, 2019
Canadians are now completely furious over the system, and many are calling it "ridiculous" and "unfair". Many report that they have been routinely applying to sponsor family members for years and once again, they were unable to submit an application.
Canadian residents have taken their concerns to social media, calling out the government on their Twitter page. The Twitter announcement from the Canadian government about applications closing received over 1,600 comments, many of them from furious Canadians.
Many people were unable to apply, and several couldn't even open the application form.
Terrible! I had 4 different computers available for this. By the time I submitted the application it said that the form it was closed!! Wow as a public figure in this country I am going to ask for answers for all the thousands of people that they never got a chance to even apply!— 𝐏𝐀𝐓𝐑𝐈𝐂𝐈𝐀 𝐉𝐀𝐆𝐆𝐄𝐑𝐍𝐀𝐔𝐓𝐇 (@Patricia_J) January 28, 2019
What??? The link didn’t even show for me and I was refreshing!!!!— Juan Zuno (@Zunito) January 28, 2019
Wow, it was open for a whole 30 seconds. I sat here and hit refresh from 12 EST to 12:04 EST and when it opened, it immediately said closed. So having immigration lawyer bots clog your system is fair for average immigrants?— Gretchen (@chargerbison) January 28, 2019
Hey @CitImmCanada the form never displayed in 10 minutes of refreshing. It said it wasn't available till 12:10.— iAN (@iAN11647400) January 28, 2019
People are saying the system is unfair, with some likening this stressful experience to trying to buy concert tickets.
At 12:07 there was a tweet saying it will be momentarily available and then u delete that tweet. This is so flawed. Didn't even get to see the form until 12 :08 and then it was full. This is not a Metallica concert ticket that it has to be like this. pic.twitter.com/I7wbbUx3JI— Sunny (@R3dD3viiLS) January 28, 2019
I had my schedule cleared, computer set up, kept refreshing every few seconds. Form went from open to closed right away. This is not a concert ticket you are selling, this is about uniting families. The whole process is atrocious.— Naimul Khan (@naimulkhan) January 28, 2019
This process was far from being fair. You wait for ONE FULL YEAR and you give like 30 seconds to fill this. Thoroughly disappointed with this new process.— Atit | અતીત | अतीत (@atitdave) January 28, 2019
Some people have been waiting for years to apply, and once again were unable to in 2019. Some residents complained that they weren't even able to load the page to fill out the application, while others weren't even able to submit their application before time ran out.
Paola Escobar told MTLBlog that this marks her fourth year trying to sponsor her parents and grandmother.
"Just until last year it was a raffle but this year was just a scam I was in front of the computer 15 min before 12 until 12:09 refreshing the page and nothing happened, no forms nothing, and 12:10 pm there was an announcement that they reached the number of applications. I couldn't do anything but cry of anger."
She's not the only one who has undergone an emotional and difficult experience in applying for the sponsorship program – check out what other Canadians have been waiting years had to say below.
This is ridiculous! Been waiting for years now... should have kept the portal open so people can at least apply and you can select first 20,000! Unlike shutting it down. I will be contacting my MPA for this. @iamIqraKhalid— Rumease Siddiqui (@rumease) January 28, 2019
THREE YEARS. We've been trying to apply for three years. every time IRCC makes it more and more humiliating. This "Hunger games" looks likes the government waits until our parents die lonely and abandoned.— Sergey K (@SergeyK1972) January 28, 2019
It's only been hours since the application form was closed, and a petition has already been created on Change.org that calls for the CIC to outright cancel this round of applications and instead reopen the application program later this year. So far, it has over 1,700 signatures.
Mathieu Genest, press secretary for Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada, has tried to defend the sponsorship process. He told MTLBlog, "the Department did extensive testing to ensure systems were able to handle the volume. In addition, IRCC also implemented anti-bot features in order to ensure that submissions received were legitimate".
The press secretary also said that there were not any known technical issues related to the application. As an alternative, he encourages applicants' parents and grandparents "to apply for a super visa to stay in Canada for up to 2 years at a time".
There is still no explanation as to why many applicants stated they couldn't even see the application form on the CIC website. MTLBlog has reached out to the CIC for more information, so stay tuned.