CIC Rollout of Phase I to Expedite Family Reunification

The Canadian Government announced on November 4, 2011 that it is planning on taking immediate action to reduce the backlog and wait times for sponsored parents and grandparents under the Family Class Sponsorship.

It is reported that there are more than 165,000 parent and grandparents are still waiting for a final decisions in regards to their Canadian permanent residency application.  Every year, Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) receives nearly 38,000 applications for family sponsorship of parents and grandparents. This is a number that is expected to grow annually and therefore a remedy has to be set in place by the CIC in order to avoid future backlogs and waiting times.

Currently the wait times for Family Class Sponsorship applications for parents and grandparents exceeds seven years. To manage the large backlog and wait times the CIC is implementing Phase I of the action plan to expedite Family Reunification.

First – The Canadian Government will increase the number of sponsored parents and grandparents admitted into Canada next year from nearly 15,500 in 2010 to 25,000 in 2012.  This is an increase of over 60 percent – the highest level in nearly two decades.

Second – The Canadian government is introducing the new “Parent and Grandparent Super Visa,” which will be valid for up to 10 years. The multiple-entry visa will allow an applicant to remain in Canada for up to 24 months at a time without the need for renewing one’s status. The Parent and Grandparent Super Visa will go into effect on December 1, 2011, and CIC will be able to issue the visas, on average, within eight weeks of receiving the application. This means that instead of waiting for eight years, a parent or a grandparent can come to Canada within eight weeks. It is important to note that Parent and Grandparent Super Visa applicants will need to obtain private Canadian health-care insurance for their stay in Canada.

Third The Canadian government will consult Canadians on how to redesign the parents and grandparents program to ensure that it is sustainable in the future. The redesigned program must avoid future large backlogs and be sensitive to fiscal constraints.

Fourth – To prevent the build-up of an unmanageable number of new applications during these periods of consulting with the Canadian citizenry and to further reduce the 165,000-strong backlog of parent and grandparent applications, CIC is putting in place a temporary pause of up to 24 months on the acceptance of new sponsorship applications for parents and grandparents. The pause comes into effect on November 5, 2011.

The Canadian Government feels this plan provides CIC a more balance approach and indicates that the Government of Canada is committed to enhancing the Family Class Sponsorship processing for parent and grandparents.