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Members of the Filipino community take part in the annual Canada Day parade in Montreal in this July 1, 2012 file photo. (Graham Hughes/THE CANADIAN PRESS)

The executive director of the Prince Albert Multicultural Council hopes for a more efficient and effective publication process for family sponsorship applications for parents and grandparents to become permanent residents.

Michelle Hassler made the comments after Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada announced on Jan. 1 that it had stopped accepting applications for parents and grandparents by those with permanent resident status and new Canadian citizens.

“When I first heard the news, I thought that there's probably just a backlog pending applications that they want to process because sometimes they do that. But when I was reading the instruction, I think they are really wanting to update the system,” Hassler said.

Going through the immigration process isn’t easy, Hassler said. It takes commitment, a medical, a lot of paperwork and especially money, and can take up to two years.

“So having an efficient, effective, faster process with immigration would be really great for everybody that wants to use the immigration visa on that matter.”

Vishal Chawla, a permanent resident who has lived in Canada for nine years and is applying to become a Canadian citizen, wants to bring his parents from India to live here.

“I miss them so much and my parents are getting old and they need my help. Also my brother is dependent on me."

When the online application process opened in January 2019, the demand was so high that the system was closed in seven minutes. Chawla’s application was one of the lucky ones to be selected.

The screening process is expected to take 20 to 24 months. Applicants must share financial information and are responsible for those they are sponsoring once in Canada.

“It's a huge moment for them and I felt really excited at the time. I'm really excited to have them here in the future when they come here, when the application is processed and approved,” Chawla said.

Refugees applying for permanent residency have a different process.

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada says the temporary closure is because they are revamping the system and IRCC will begin the intake of new applications as early as possible in 2020.