Uzair Khan began preparing his paternal grandmother’s sponsorship application immediately after she agreed in October to join the family here from Pakistan.
While trying to secure one of the 5,000 coveted spots for people to bring parents and grandparents to Canada, the Mississauga software developer quickly learned the trick from the many applicants who went through the competition the year before.
Immigration sponsors paying couriers to get applications to front of line
It’s a gamble and a scramble trying meet deadline, sponsorship families find
“I have done my own investigation. You have to go with a local courier who will stand in line overnight and deliver the application for you,” said the 32-year-old, who researched all the local service providers and settled with Current Express at an $80 premium.
“These courier services specialize in delivering time-sensitive legal documents. Some charge as much as $200 and wait till it is delivered. The large companies see the lineup and will leave and come back later,” he said.
Through an online immigrant forum, Khan said he learned the quota was filled in 2015 within one-and-a-half business days. The application for his grandmother, Shahzadi Begum, was submitted at 9:20 a.m. — the doors opened at 8 a.m. — on Jan. 4 and he hopes it would make the cut.
Under the old, capless system, immigration officials were bound by an annual target already — any unprocessed applications would be dealt with the next year and the backlog snowballed.
“It’s really no different from the quota system,” said Khan. “The only difference is now the onus is on the applicants to get there first and it benefits the courier services who charge an exorbitant fee for it and profit from it. The old system was definitely a fairer approach.”
He believes the current cap system is just a ploy by the former Conservative government to create more hurdles to discourage immigrants from sponsoring their parents and grandparents to Canada.
“The government put an emphasis on family reunification but (then) put a quota on their sponsorship,” said Khan. “It is just ridiculous.”