Chris Alexander (Photo by Chandra Bodalia)
THE Parent and Grandparent Program (PGP) will re-open to new applications on January 2 with tighter admission criteria and a cap on applications, Citizenship and Immigration Minister Chris Alexander announced on Wednesday
He said this will continue to reduce the backlog and improve wait times for families.
Application forms, guides and information on how to apply to the new PGP program will be made available online on December 31, just ahead of the PGP program re-opening.
Alexander said that 45,000 permanent residents were admitted to Canada in the Family Class (FC) in the first six months of 2013.
He said this increase can be attributed almost entirely to a doubling of admissions in the Parent and Grandparent (PGP) category over that time period.
Alexander said Canada has one of the most generous family reunification programs in the world, but growing backlogs in the PGP program meant families could expect to wait eight years or more to bring their loved ones from overseas. A pause on new applications, combined with high admission levels, has helped reduce the backlog.
* In 2011, under Phase I of the Action Plan for Faster Family Reunification, the Government cut backlogs and wait times for sponsored parents and grandparents. 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.
* Of the 45,000 FC permanent residents admitted to Canada in the first six months of 2013, approximately 22,530 spouses and partners were admitted as permanent residents under the FC as well as 1,410 children, 20,700 parents, grandparents and their dependants as well as 360 other relatives and adopted children.
* The Parent and Grandparent Super Visa remains a fast and convenient option for parents and grandparents who want to spend longer periods of time with their families in Canada. To date, approximately 28,000 Super Visas have been issued with an approval rate of almost 85 percent. With more than 1,000 Super Visas being issued monthly, this has become one of CIC’s most popular initiatives.
“Our government understands the importance of spending time with family and loved ones, especially during the holiday season. Our government is making improvements to the immigration system so that families can be reunited more quickly. Because of our changes, Canada is on track to welcome more than 50,000 parents and grandparents in 2012-2013—the highest number in nearly a decade,” said Alexander.