Last week, on November 5, 2012, Citizenship and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney was keen to report the success of the Action Plan for Faster Family Reunification following its first year. However, despite the major progress, the Minister announced that, for the second year in a row, the Government will keep the admissions of 25,000 parents and grandparents. This decision is included in the 2013 Levels Plan which was tabled on October 31, 2012.
Given the 10,000 Parent and Grandparent Super Visas to be issued and the planned permanent admissions of 25,000, Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) is expected to reunite 35,000 parents and grandparents with their families in the beginning of 2013.
Last year, CIC launched the first phase of the Action Plan for Faster Family Reunification in response to the significant family sponsorship program backlogs that were leading to wait times of more than eight years for parent and grandparent applications. Under the scope of the Action Plan, four points were implemented in Phase I:
First: Increase in the number of parents and grandparents accepted.
The Government of Canada significantly increased the number of parents and grandparents admitted as permanent residents, from nearly 15,500 admissions per year in 2010 to 25,000 in 2012.
Two: Parent and Grandparent Super Visas.
The Parent and Grandparent Super Visa came into effect on December 1, 2011. The 10-year multiple entry visa allows authorized stays for up to two years for the parents and grandparents of eligible Canadian residents or citizens.
To be eligible, parents and grandparents must:
- undergo the Immigration Medical Examination (IME);
- demonstrate that they have purchased private Canadian medical insurance; and
- provide written proof of financial support from a child or grandchild in Canada who meets the Low-Income Cut off (LICO).
Three: Government and citizen consultations.
On March 23, 2012, CIC initiated nation-wide public consultations on the redesign of the Parent and Grandparent program. Consultations were conducted in order to ensure a faster and more sustainable parent and grandparent program in the beginning of 2014.
Four: Two-year suspension on parents and grandparents program.
A moratorium on new applications for the parents and grandparents program came into effect on November 5, 2011. All applications that were received before November 5, 2011 were accepted and processed. On the other hand, applications that were received on or after November 5, 2011, were returned to the respective applicants, including fees.