But the NDP immigration critic is worried that the new 10-year visa for parents and grandparents may be hard to obtain. People applying to sponsor a parent or grandparent will have to show they can support their visiting relatives. To be accepted, the visitors will be required to have private health insurance coverage during their stay in Canada. Critics say not all immigrants will qualify to bring family members.
By R. Paul Dhillon With News Files
VANCOUVER – That wily Conservative immigration minister Jason Kenney is playing immigrants to be suckers with “you bare all costs for your loved ones coming from your homeland” Super Visa, which the Harper government was busy trumpeting this week as the visa came into effect on Thursday, Dec. 1.
But by the looks of it – most immigrants, especially the wealthy ones, will be happy being suckers as it allows them to bring their immediate family – parents and grandparents – quickly to Canada with just taking eight weeks to get visa.
But the NDP immigration critic is worried that the new 10-year visa for parents and grandparents may be hard to obtain.
The new visa is part of the Conservative government’s plan to battle an enormous backlog of about 165,000 parents and grandparents who are trying to join family in Canada, reported CBC News.
The so-called super visa will be good for 10 years, but will have to be renewed every two years.
People applying to sponsor a parent or grandparent will have to show they can support their visiting relatives. To be accepted, the visitors will be required to have private health insurance coverage during their stay in Canada.
NDP immigration critic Don Davies likes the new super visa for parents and grandparents, but he wants assurances that they will be easy to get, unlike a five-year visitor’s visa that has been available for years.
“I have cases in my office in Vancouver where someone’s sponsoring their parents, say from New Delhi, and their application is in the lineup for 10 years,” Davies said.
“So they apply for a visitor visa to come and they’re turned down because they have a permanent resident application in the queue and the officials think that they won’t leave.”
Immigration Minister Jason Kenney says that won’t be a problem — people who have applied for permanent residency will definitely be eligible for the visa.
“The department informs me that they’re confident that the approval rate for these parent super visas will actually be very high,” Kenney said last week at an appearance before a parliamentary committee.
Kenney said the new health insurance requirement may make it easier for visa officers to say “yes.”
“One of the reasons we are requiring that people demonstrate they have health insurance when they come into Canada, is to add greater certainty for our visa officers that admitting people is not going to end up representing a net cost to Canadian taxpayers,” he told the committee last week.
Debbie Douglas, the executive director of the Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants, said that overall, the new program is a “really good way forward” in terms of serving parents and grandparents.
But she noted that there are still concerns about how visas will be allocated, as well as the health insurance requirement.
To be eligible, the applicant must:
• Be a parent or grandparent of a Canadian citizen or permanent resident;
• Provide a written commitment of financial support from their child or grandchild in Canada, including proof that the child or grandchild meets the minimum necessary income (Low Income Cut-Off);
• Undergo the Immigration Medical Examination;
• Submit proof that they have purchased comprehensive Canadian medical insurance, valid for at least one year; and
• Satisfy the visa officer that they meet all other standard admissibility criteria.
Current processing times through the Family Class indicate that many parents and grandparents could wait for eight years or more to be accepted to Canada. With the Super Visa, they could be enjoying the company of their family in about eight weeks.