Canada’s Citizenship and Immigration Minister has announced that the backlog of Parent and Grandparent (PGP) programme applications will be almost 50 per cent lower by the end of 2013 than it was just two years ago.
The Minister, Chris Alexander, believes that the Government is on track to surpass its commitment to admit 50,000 parents and grandparents to Canada over two years (2012 and 2013).
“Our Government is keeping our promise to overcome the massive backlogs we inherited and reunite families faster,” he said. “These numbers represent the highest level of parent and grandparent admissions in nearly two decades and are a clear expression of our commitment to family reunification as a key part of our immigration plan.”
Minister Alexander has also revealed that Canada intends to welcome an additional 20,000 parents and grandparents in 2014.
Under an Action Plan for Faster Family Reunification, which was announced last year and led to no new applications being taken while the backlogs were cleared, the Government has significantly cut visa waiting times for sponsored parents and grandparents. Prior to that, families regularly had to wait eight years or more to bring their loved ones from overseas.
Had no action been taken, it was predicted that the backlog could increase to 250,000 people with wait times of 15 years by 2015. Wait times are now expected to be just one fifth of that time.
What’s more, the PGP programme will once again start accepting new applications again in January 2014, with new eligibility criteria for sponsors and a cap of just 5,000 applications per year.
“The modernised PGP program will mean faster processing times and shorter waits,” said Alexander. “It will also ensure that families have the financial means to support those they sponsor, while also protecting the interests of taxpayers.”
More information, new application forms and instruction guides for the redesigned PGP programme will be made available in the coming weeks.
In the meantime, the Super Visa remains a popular option for parents or grandparents wishing to visit their families in Canada for an extended period of time. The Super Visa is valid for up to ten years and allows parents and grandparents to come to Canada for up to two years at a time. To date, nearly 26,000 Super Visas have been issued with an approval rate of 84 per cent.
Article published 30th October 2013