Canada scraps family reunification lottery

Monday, August 20, 2018

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OTTAWA, Canada (AFP) — Canada said Monday it is scrapping a family reunification lottery and going back to a first-come, first-serve immigration policy as it looks to double the number of parents and grandparents admitted to the country.

The change back to the old system follows a backlash from frustrated sponsors who described the lottery as "cruel," "heartless" and a "Vegas-like circus."

Last year when the lottery was introduced, more than 95,000 filled out an online form to be entered in a draw, but just 10,000 potential sponsors were selected.

Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen said Canada will admit up to 20,500 parents and grandparents under its reunification program in 2019, and 21,000 in 2020.

The decision to increase these numbers "is a result of continually high demand" for bringing parents and grandparents of Canadians into the country, he said in a statement.

The government, Hussen added, is committed "to helping families live, work and thrive together, in Canada."

In the United States, President Donald Trump has derisively branded a similar family reunification program "chain migration." It allows naturalized US citizens to sponsor close relatives for permanent residency.

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