Canadian Immigration announces plan to reduce backlog of family visa applications

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Canadian immigration will be accepting an additional 10,000 parents and grandparents into Canada next year as part of a comprehensive approach to speeding up family reunification and reducing an ever-increasing backlog.

The plan, announced Friday by Immigration Minister Jason Kenney, introduced the Canadian “Parent and Grandparent Super Visa” which is valid for up to 10 years. The multiple-entry visa will allow parents and grandparents to remain in Canada for up to 24 months at a time without the need for renewal of their status. Currently visas are only good for six months.

Part of the plan requires up to a two-year pause on new applications so the department can clear the backlog. The pause comes into effect on 5 November 2011.

Presently, more than 165,000 parents and grandparents who have applied to become permanent residents of Canada are still waiting for a final decision on their visa. Under the new plan, the government hopes to eliminate the backlog within five years.

The super visa will be open to individuals already in the queue for permanent residency who have demonstrated they have financial support while in Canada, private health insurance, and, have undergone an immigration medical examination (unless exempted).

Overall, the government will accept 25,000 parents and grandparents into Canada next year, up from 15,000 this year. The government receives nearly 40,000 applications under the family reunification stream every year with a current wait time of about seven years.

“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 Kenney. “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.”

“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.

The super visa will become available as of 1 December 2011; The Canadian immigration department aims to issue visas within eight weeks of receiving an application.

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Source: Workpermit