Canada will issue 35,000 parents and grandparents visas in 2013

Jason Kenney, the Canadian immigration minister, has announced that Canada intends to grant visas to 35,000 parents and grandparents of immigrants in 2013. This is the same number as were granted visas in 2012 and, Mr Kenney told reporters in Mississauga, Ontario on November 5th 2012, it is the highest number for 20 years. Mr Kenney said that this figure is 60% higher than the number for 2010.

The Canadian government instigated the Action Plan for Faster Family reunification in late 2011. Its intention was to process new applications from parents and grandparents of citizens and residents who wanted to visit Canada faster and to wipe out the backlog of historic applications in a reasonable time period. The backlog at that time stood at 165,000 applications and there was a waiting list of nearly eight years.

To that end, Mr Kenney announced that no new applications from citizens or residents to sponsor their parents or grandparents would be accepted for 24 months at least. CIC staff were then able to concentrate on reducing the backlog. Citizenship and Immigration Canada says that it hopes to have reduced that by more than 30,000 (around 20%) in the 13 months to the end of 2012.

Mr Kenney told reporters at his press conference on Tuesday 5th November that he was also continuing to work on creating a new system so that the system would operate more quickly in future and prevent the backlog from building up again.

CIC launched a national consultation in March 2012 and continued to run online consultations until May 25th 2012. The results of these consultations will be published soon on the CIC website, according to a statement released by CIC.

Mr Kenney told reporters that, on top of the 25,000 visas granted to parents on the PGP applications backlog, CIC also expects to issue around 10,000 Parent and Grandparent Super Visas by the end of the year. These visas were first issued in December 2011 and entitle the parents and grandparents of Canadian residents or citizens to come to visit their relative in Canada providing the relative has an income above a modest amount (the amount of income required varies depending on the number of children the relative has).

The parent or grandparent must also complete a medical examination and purchase health insurance for one year. They must also pay a fee. The advantage for grandparents and parents is that they can stay for up to two years in Canada, rather than and will therefore pay fewer fees. They will also find that the waiting time for a super visa should be eight weeks, rather than the eight years some people still have to wait on the PGP list.

Mr Kenney said that 10,000 super visas should be granted in 2013 as well.

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