New sponsorship applications for parents and grandparents on hold for two years
The Government of Canada has placed a two year moratorium on the Family Class program for parents and grandparents. As of November 5, 2011, no new sponsorship applications will be accepted for that specific category of the Family Class program.
There are currently more than 165,000 parents and grandparents who are still awaiting a decision on their permanent residence application and approximately 40,000 new parents and grandparents apply each year.
“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,” said Jason Kenney, Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism. “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 reduce wait times and backlogs, Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) will be introducing the Action Plan for Faster Family Reunification which includes the moratorium on parent and grandparent sponsorships.
In the first phase the government of Canada will increase the number of permanent resident visas given to parents and grandparents by 60 percent for next year. These visas will be given to the parents and grandparents who have already submitted their sponsorship application and are awaiting a decision. Nearly 25,000 parents and grandparents are expected to be approved in 2012, the highest level in nearly 20 years.
In the second phase, the government will introduce the “Parent and Grandparent Super Visa”, which will come into effect on December 1, 2011. This multiple-entry visa will allow applicants to remain in Canada for up to two years at a time without having to renew their status. The visa will be valid for up to 10 years and is expected to take about eight weeks to process.
The third phase will consist of consultations with Canadians on how to redesign the sponsorship program to ensure that Canada is able to sustain it in the future without having large backlogs.
“The Government of Canada is fully committed to helping families reunite,” said Minister Kenney. “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,” added the Minister. “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.”