In just a few minutes on Monday, people snapped up 27,000 online application spots for bringing parents or grandparents into the country resulting in frustration and fury among people who say the new system is flawed and unfair.
At noon, the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada opened up to applicants its online form for indicating interest in sponsoring a family member through the 2019 Parent and Grandparent Program.
Just eleven minutes later, the department tweeted that the applications received had met the annual limit and the form had been closed to new applicants.
A flood of angry complaints followed from frustrated would-be applicants, many of whom said they had cleared their schedules and set up their computers to fill out the online form only to find it shut down within minutes.
“This is not a concert ticket you are selling, this is about uniting families. The whole process is atrocious,” wrote Naimul Khan on Twitter.
Some called for an independent audit of IRCC’s sponsorship process.
Cayo Whyte of Peterborough, Ont. took the day off work to fill out the form to sponsor his mother from Jamaica. He managed to get on the website and load the form — but by the time he completed it, the application window had closed.
“I feel so disappointed, so heartbroken, so stressed out. The words aren’t there to describe how disappointed I feel,” he told.
Whyte, who has been in Canada since 2009, said he has worked hard to advance his education and get a well-paid job.
“I am doing everything by the book but I cannot seem to make any headway in supporting my family in coming here,” he said.
Whyte said the first-in process is particularly unfair to him because he took a bit longer about three minutes to fill out the form because he has a disability. His past attempts to sponsor his mom through the former lottery system were also unsuccessful.