Immigration sponsorship of parents, grandparents under review by Ottawa
March 27, 2012 00:03:00
Ottawa is considering limiting eligibility of immigration sponsorship of parents and grandparents to those who are “widowed.”
That is one option under review by Immigration Minister Jason Kenney as he launched his national consultations to redesign the program that reunites parents and grandparents with their families in Canada.
Other measures under consideration include:
• Raising the income requirements of the sponsors and binding them to lifetime financial support of the elderly family members in Canada.
• Adopting the “balance of family test” where parents and grandparents must have at least half of their children residing permanently in Canada to be eligible for sponsorship.
• Restricting eligibility to sponsors who are Canadian citizens; currently permanent residents are eligible to sponsor their parents and grandparents.
• Limiting the applications to “exceptional cases” by, for example, requiring that the parent or grandparent “be widowed or have other exceptional needs.”
“Our government is fully committed to helping families reunite,” said Kenney in a statement. “The feedback provided by Canadians will guide our government in creating a new program in which future applications will be processed quickly and backlogs will not develop.”
To tackle the sponsorship backlog that now stands at 168,500, Ottawa has stopped accepting sponsorship applications for parents and grandparents since November. It plans to accept between 21,800 and 25,000 applications in 2012, up from 14,072 in 2011.
It also launched the 10-year Super Visa in December, allowing parents and grandparents to make temporary visits to Canada.
Kenney said the revamped program has to be “sensitive to fiscal constraints, bearing in mind Canada’s generous public health-care system and other social benefits.”
According to the government’s discussion paper on the reforms, almost half of the respondents in a 2011 survey said they wanted to see the parents and grandparents category scrapped.
The same online survey, said Ottawa, also found 1,482 respondents favoured allowing more parents into Canada each year, with 1,272 participants suggesting the number be limited.
The online public consultations start this week and run until May 25. A report will be released later this year.
Top 10 source countries for parents/grandparents
Sri Lanka: 820
Haiti (spike a result of 2010 earthquake): 640
Citizenship and Immigration Canada