Canada welcomes largest number of parents and grandparents in 20 years
Jason Kenney announced an update on Canada’s Action Plan for Faster Family Reunification. Major progress has been made in reuniting families more quickly and reducing the backlog of parent and grandparent (PGP) program applications, said Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney.
The plan for this year includes the admission of 25,000 parents and grandparents for the second year in a row, for a total of 50,000 between this year and next. This is a 60 per cent annual increase from 2010, and the highest level in nearly two decades.
Canada is also taking steps to address a backlog of PGP applications that had ballooned to approximately 165,000 applicants, with wait times stretching to an unacceptable eight years. By the end of this year, Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) expects to have reduced the backlog by about 20 per cent. Of the applications cleared from the backlog, the majority met the requirements of the program and have been approved.
There has also been strong uptake of the new parent and grandparent super visa, which allows parents and grandparents to visit Canada for up to two years at a time. The super visa is very popular, with over 10,000 super visas being issued since its launch in December 2011, and the acceptance rate is high at 87 per cent.
“We listened to Canadians who told us the old program with eight-year wait times just didn’t work,” said Kenney. “Our actions to fix the program are working. Given the popularity of the super visa and planned permanent admissions of 25,000 in 2013, we expect to reunite up to 35,000 parents and grandparents with their families next year. This is a significant achievement and the highest number in nearly two decades.”
For the PGP program to be sustainable, it must be redesigned to avoid future backlogs. The redesigned program must also be sensitive to fiscal constraints, bearing in mind Canada’s generous public health-care system and other social benefits.
This year, Canada is expected to launch a modernized PGP program, one that will ensure that future applicants are processed quickly and that the program operates on a sustainable basis.
Posted: Dec 31, 2012