Tories Speeding Up Family Class Through “Super Visa” For Parents-Grandparents But Sponsors On Hook For Medical Expenses
Canada Will Also Admit Nearly 10,000 More Permanent Sponsored Family Class Immigrants In 2012 But Has Stopped Accepting Family Class Applications As Of Today
The government says it is bringing in the new “Parent and Grandparent Super Visa,” which will be valid for up to 10 years. The multiple-entry visa will allow an applicant to remain in Canada for up to 24 months at a time without the need for renewal of their status. The Parent and Grandparent Super Visa will come into effect on December 1, 2011, and CIC will be able to issue the visas, on average, within eight weeks of the application. Parent and Grandparent Super Visa applicants will be required to obtain private Canadian health-care insurance for their stay in Canada.
By R. Paul Dhillon
OTTAWA – The Tory government’s overly active immigration minister Jason Kenney, who has been criticized for policies that are aimed at restricting family class immigration over economic class, thereby reducing immigration from two Asian hubs of China and India, has pulled a rabbit out of the hat and magically transformed the immigration system especially when it comes to family class.
But the smoke and mirrors Kenney has given a little and perhaps take a lot.
In a series of announcements on immigration – including increasing the number of foreign students allowed in – Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Kenney announced on Friday that his government is taking immediate action to cut the backlog and wait times for sponsored parents and grandparents through a combinations of Super Visa and increase in the number of permanent family class immigrants allowed in 2012.
But the new offering comes with Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) not accepting any more family class applications for two years beginning from November 5 (today).
Currently, more than 165,000 parents and grandparents who have applied to become permanent residents of Canada are still waiting for a final decision. Each year, Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) receives applications for sponsorship of nearly 38,000 parents and grandparents, a number that will only continue to expand if no action is taken, Kenney said.
“Wait times for Family Class sponsorship applications for parents and grandparents now exceed seven years, and without taking action, those times will continue to grow, and that is unacceptable,” Kenney said. “Action must be taken to cut the backlog, reduce the wait times, and ensure that the parents and grandparents program is sustainable over the long run.”
To deal with the large backlog and lengthy wait times, CIC is announced Phase I of the Action Plan for Faster Family Reunification.
During this phase, there will be an increase by over 60 percent the number of sponsored parents and grandparents Canada will admit next year, from nearly 15,500 in 2010 to 25,000 in 2012 – the highest level in nearly two decades.
Kenney also introduced the new “Parent and Grandparent Super Visa,” which will be valid for up to 10 years. The multiple-entry visa will allow an applicant to remain in Canada for up to 24 months at a time without the need for renewal of their status.
The Parent and Grandparent Super Visa will come into effect on December 1, 2011, and CIC will be able to issue the visas, on average, within eight weeks of the application. This means that instead of waiting for eight years, a parent or a grandparent can come to Canada within eight weeks.
Parent and Grandparent Super Visa applicants will be required to obtain private Canadian health-care insurance for their stay in Canada. The government has cleverly shifted the financial burden on to immigrant families while making the family reunification quick and convenient for those wanting to bring family members from their home nations. Most immigrants will be happy that they can get their family members to come quickly without long delays and frustration with CIC.
While Kenney seems to be making a peace offering with Friday’s announcements of easing the family class immigration – he warned that the government will consult Canadians on how to redesign the parents and grandparents program to ensure that it is sustainable in the future.
“The redesigned program must avoid future large backlogs and be sensitive to fiscal constraints,” hew said
To prevent the build-up of an unmanageable number of new applications during these consultations and to further reduce the 165,000-strong backlog of parent and grandparent applicants, CIC is putting in place a temporary pause of up to 24 months on the acceptance of new sponsorship applications for parents and grandparents. The pause comes into effect on November 5, 2011.
“The Government of Canada is fully committed to helping families reunite,” Kenney said. “We recognize that what parents and grandparents want most is to be able to spend time with their families.”
“If we do not take real action now, the large and growing backlog in the parents and grandparents program will lead to completely unmanageable wait times. Through this balanced series of measures, we will be able to dramatically reduce the backlog and wait times, while the new Parent and Grandparent Super Visa will allow more family members to pay extended visits to their loved ones. We anticipate that in about two years, following our consultations, Phase II of our Action Plan for Faster Family Reunification will come into effect, ensuring that future applicants are processed quickly and that the program can operate on an efficient and sustainable basis.,” Kenney added
There has been increasing criticism in the immigrant communities, including the two biggest – Chinese and South Asian – that Kenney is doing what the Conservatives agenda has been all along to reduce immigration from the hot spots in Asia and his policies point to that.
It is also pointed out that Kenney’s immigration numbers keep changing but the real issue is that the new restrictions and enforcement at the CIC means that for the first time the Immigration Minister has a lot of control in being effective in terms of who gets in and from where. And Friday’s announcement points to that dramatic shift with Kenney dramatically changing the way immigration to Canada will be shaped.
Kenney said this week that there will be more parents and grandparents coming but less spouses and dependent children. Kenney says it is because spouses and children are not coming in large numbers as in the past.
But the main reason for this shift is his policies which have brought new restrictions, making it extremely difficult to get immigration. So in this case – it is Kenney’s own policies which are making his objective of having fewer immigrants in that category a reality. In this case – the methodology ensures that the results are what the government of the day’s agenda is and has been for a long time.
While most immigrants given the choice between having their loved ones be able to come quickly to visit and stay with them for a lengthy period of time – Friday’s announcement of Super Visa does give immigrants something to rejoice about even thought they potentially could be stuck with hefty medical bills which they may not be able to afford.
But the outright stoppage of taking family sponsorship applications for two years will not be met with joy from the immigrant communities but Kenney has shown that he is a good juggler with giving something while taking away a lot.
The family sponsorship waiting times has increased from normally 1-2 years to more than seven years. So what this is doing causing people to become frustrated and obviously this discouragement is stopping them from applying because it takes too long to process. And by reducing the family class immigration- which has the largest group of immigrants coming from Asia – specifically from China and India – it is affecting this large group and reducing the demand.
And this is certainly a concerted, directed effort on part of the Tories to do this as they realize that the mix from Asia is getting bigger and bigger every year. It is also based on data that in 2030 – visible minority immigrants will overtake the non-visible minority population in Canada.
It is nothing new as many European countries are full out in tackling this concern of foreign immigrants in their land but at least they are vocal with their potential racism out in the open. While they are openly saying that they are doing it – but here the Tories are hiding behind this wall of nothing’s changed really – just taking immigration policies in a different direction.
The LINK recently did a story where we quoted the Toronto Star on 2011 data showing immigrants to Canada dropped by 25 percent. Here is what Toronto Star wrote: . “In fact in the first quarter of 2011 – there already has been a decrease of 25 per cent fewer immigrants coming to Canada compared to the same period in 2010. The number of permanent resident visas issued by Citizenship and Immigration Canada between January and March fell from 84,083 in 2010 to 63,224 this year, according to figures obtained by the Toronto Star.”
But you do have to give Kenney some credit for pulling that rabbit out of the hat. He is keeping those Canadians happy who are anti-immigrant and want immigration curtailed while satisfying Conservatives’ new found ethnic voters who would like an immigration policy that allows their loved ones to come and go as they please.