Changes to the application process of the federal immigration program for sponsoring parents and grandparents aim to streamline the process by preventing ineligible submissions.
The government began accepting applications for the Parents and Grandparents Program on Tuesday. This year, applicants must fill out additional questions to determine their eligibility before they are entered into the lottery.
Over 95,000 people applied in 2017, according to government statistics. It was the first year the government had switched to a lottery system for the program after years of backlog.
While the lottery system helped clear the backlog, selecting 10,000 candidates at random, it also chose ineligible candidates who ultimately couldn’t continue the application process, according to Edward Ryan, an immigration consultant with Edge Immigration.
“They’re essentially taking a spot away from someone else,” Ryan said. “If they do draw 10,000 proper candidates, eligible candidates, everybody’s happy.”
Part of the prescreening includes determining an applicant’s income level and whether it meets the minimum requirements. For example, the minimum annual income to sponsor two people is $39,813. The lowest allowable income to sponsor seven people is $84,631.
Applications to sponsor parents and grandparents can be submitted until February 1.