Ottawa, October 29, 2013 — Canada’s Citizenship and Immigration Minister Chris Alexander today pledged aggressive action to reunite more families in 2014. Alexander also announced that the backlog of Parent and Grandparent (PGP) program applications will be almost 50 percent lower by the end of 2013 than it was just two years ago.
“Our Government is keeping our promise to overcome the massive backlogs we inherited and reunite families faster,” said Alexander. “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.”
The Government is on track to surpass its commitment to admit 50,000 parents and grandparents to Canada over two years (2012 and 2013), and Canada intends to welcome an additional 20,000 in 2014. The admission of an additional 20,000 parents and grandparents in 2014 is part of the annual levels plan tabled yesterday by Citizenship and Immigration Canada.
Under the Action Plan for Faster Family Reunification, the Government cut backlogs and wait 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 persons with wait times of 15 years by 2015. Because of the Government’s aggressive actions, wait times are now expected to be just one fifth of that time.
The PGP program will start accepting applications again in January with new eligibility criteria for sponsors and a cap of 5,000 applications per year. The cap is being put in place to allow for the elimination of the existing backlog and prevent future backlogs. More information, new application forms and instruction guides for the redesigned PGP program will be made available in the coming weeks.
“The modernized 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.”
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 10 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 percent.