Sunday, December 1, 2013

The Scope of Family Sponsorship in 2014

Grandparents
Grandparents (Photo credit: Wm Jas)
2014 is set to be an important year for family sponsorship. Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) anticipates that 68,000 family members of Canadian citizens or permanent residents will immigrate to Canada in the next calendar year, accounting for 26.1% of total immigration. Of this number, approximately 48,000 new immigrants will be spouses, partners or children, while the remaining 20,000 will be parents or grandparents.
Family sponsorship applicants in 2014 can look forward to streamlined processes and fast processing times across the board. This is thanks to efforts that CIC has made to prioritize the processing of family applications, thus making good on its stated commitment to family reunification. Historically, Canada has operated one of the most welcoming family sponsorship programs in the developed world, and it appears that the trend will continue in 2014.
This sponsorship stream will continue accepting high levels of spouses, common-law and conjugal partners. Two major changes came into effect in roughly the last 12 months, and it is anticipated that they will remain in place for 2014. They are:
  • Five year sponsorship ban – An individual who has been sponsored as a spouse is banned from sponsoring another spouse in turn for 5 years after receiving Canadian Permanent Residency; and
  • Two year legitimate relationship regulation – Spouses or partners who have been in a relationship for two years of less, and who have no children together, will receive conditional permanent residency. They must prove that they continue to live with their spouse or partner in Canada, in a legitimate relationship, for two years before full permanent residency is received.
Because application numbers in this stream are liable to fluctuate, there is at present no cap on the number of applications that are or will be accepted. However, submitting an application as early as possible is the best way to ensure that partners are brought to Canada in the speediest way possible.
For the first time in recent years, the Parent and Grandparent Sponsorship stream will open and begin accepting applications on January 2, 2014. There will be a cap of 5,000 applications accepted for the upcoming time window.
After facing growing backlogs in this stream, in 2011 CIC implemented the Action Plan for Faster Family Reunification. Thanks to this plan, backlogged applications have been steadily worked through and waiting times have reduced dramatically. By 2014, CIC anticipates that parents and grandparents will have to wait only 2 – 2.5 years to receive a permanent resident visa. This time period is expected to e decrease to 1-2 years in 2015.
Although only 5,000 new applications will be accepted, a total of 20,000 parent and grandparent visas are expected to be issued as CIC continues to process remaining backlogged cases.
“The reopening of the parent and grandparent stream is long awaited,” said Attorney David Cohen. “I have no doubt that the application cap will fill up quickly. Families who wish to bring their elders to Canada as permanent residents would be well advised to start preparing their applications today.”
Canada has introduced another option for families that wish to bring their parents and grandparents to Canada. The Super Visa provides parents and grandparents of Canadian citizens and permanent residents with a visitor visa that can be renewed for two years at a time, for a period of up to 10 years.
This program is already open and enjoying great popularity, which is expected to continue in 2014. With an acceptance rate of 87%, the program is one of the country’s most welcoming to applicants. CIC announced that it currently issues over 1,000 new Super Visas each month.
As always, Canada welcomes the children of Canadian citizens and permanent residents year-round. There is no cap on child sponsorship, and children both biological and adopted may come to Canada through this program. Approximately 2,000 foreign adoptees become Canadian permanent residents each year, in addition to other dependents.
The Final Word
Family reunification is a stated goal of Canadian immigration policy. It builds strong communities and affirms the country’s commitment to human rights, quality of life, and commitment to its residents’ happiness. 2014 will see this practice of welcoming families from all over the world continue in earnest.
“Canada is always welcoming to family members, and in recent years we have seen this policy expand greatly,” said Attorney David Cohen. “As more immigrants settle within our borders, the demand to bring loved ones from abroad grows steadily. Thankfully, our country remains steadfast in its stance that family sponsorship helps strengthen our society at its core.”
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