Parents and Grandparents Immigrating to Canada in High Numbers
Chris Alexander, Canada’s Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism, reaffirmed the Federal Government is committed to continuing its aggressive efforts to reunite families in 2014.
The Parent and Grandparent Sponsorship program (PGP), which has been plagued by backlogs and unacceptable wait times, will reopen January 2nd, 2014. Minister Alexander stated that backlog and wait times for parent and grandparent sponsorship applications will be reduced by 50% compared to 2012, allowing for faster family reunification in Canada.
The Minister’s pledge is part of the Canadian government’s promise to reduce the massive backlogs plaguing the Canadian immigration system. Despite the bottlenecking of applications, more than 50,000 parents and grandparents will have been admitted through the sponsorship program since the beginning of 2012, and we can expect an additional 20,000 in 2014.
Prior to these new changes, families had to wait up to ten years for applications to be processed. If the situation had been left unremedied, Canadian immigration predicted the backlog could have affected approximately 250,000 applications, with an average wait-time of 15 years by 2015. Canadian immigration’s recent changes to the sponsorship program are expected to reduce wait times by 20%.
The Parent and Grandparent Sponsorship program will begin accepting applications in January 2014, and will apply new criteria to those who wish to sponsor their loved ones. Criteria changes include an increase in the minimum income amount required by sponsors, as well as an increased length of time for which sponsors will be responsible for their family member(s). These new measures are designed to ensure sponsors have the financial ability to support their family members, which in turn protects the interests of Canadian taxpayers.
A cap of 5,000 new applications in 2014 has been established, in order to help eliminate the current backlog and prevent future backlogs. Given the modifications to the program, new application forms and instructions will accompany the reopening of the Canadian immigration program.
The Super Visa continues to be a popular Canadian immigration visa alternative for parents and grandparents, while the PGP sponsorship program remains closed. The Super Visa is a 10-year multiple-entry visa for parents and grandparents of Canadian citizens or permanent residents. The Super Visa also allows family members to remain in Canada for up to two years at a time. Currently more than 26,000 Super Visas have been issued since the opening of the program.
To speak with a Canadian immigration lawyer, please contact First Immigration Law Firm