One of the reasons Canada stands out among the other countries that have opened their doors to immigrants from all over the world is this:
Canada has one of the most generous family reunification programs in the world. The United States, United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand do not allow grandparents to be sponsored at all or only in very limited circumstances, and they have very restrictive criteria for the sponsorship of parents.
To ensure and expedite reunification among immigrant family members, Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) came up with the following action plan.
CIC will re-open the Parent and Grandparent (PGP) program for new applications on January 2, 2014, by which time the backlog and wait times in the program are expected to have been cut in half.
“The Action Plan for Faster Family Reunification is on track to meet the goals of cutting in half the backlog and wait times in the Parent and Grandparent program,” said Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney. “It is very important that we continue to make progress and not return to the old broken system with wait times as long as a decade—that would be unfair to families.”
Phase II of the Action Plan for Faster Family Reunification will provide even faster processing times, reduce the backlog further, prevent future backlogs, ensure that families have the financial means to support those they sponsor, and protect the interests of taxpayers.
First – In 2012 and 2013, Canada will admit 50,000 parents and grandparents as permanent residents. This represents the highest level of parents and grandparents admitted in 20 years. In 2014, Canada will maintain high levels of admissions for parents and grandparents.
Second – The Super Visa will become permanent and will continue to provide flexibility for families who access the 10-year multiple-entry visa, allowing visa holders to remain in Canada up to two years at a time. Over 15,000 Super Visas have been issued since the program’s launch in December 2011 with approval rates averaging 86 percent.
Third – New qualifying criteria for permanent residency sponsorship of parents and grandparents will increase the financial responsibility of sponsors to ensure they have the means to support those they sponsor, while limiting the program’s cost to taxpayers and Canada’s strained health and social programs.
Fourth – 5,000 new sponsorship applications will be accepted in the program in 2014. By accepting 5,000 applications in 2014 while maintaining high levels, the government will be able to further reduce the remaining backlog so that families can be reunited more quickly.
“These new criteria ensure sponsored family members are well supported by their sponsors throughout their time in Canada,” said Minister Kenney. “The redesigned Parent and Grandparent program reunites families faster while respecting Canadian taxpayers and the limited resources for health and social programs.”