After the first year of the Action Plan for Faster Family Reunification, major progress has been made in reuniting families more quickly and reducing the backlog of Parent and Grandparent (PGP) program applications, Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney announced today.
The 2013 Levels Plan, which was tabled last week, includes the admission of 25,000 parents and grandparents for the second year in a row, for a total of 50,000 between this year and next. This is a 60 percent annual increase from 2010 and the highest level in nearly two decades.
The Action Plan also took immediate steps to address a backlog of PGP applications that had ballooned to approximately 165,000 applicants, with wait times stretching to an unacceptable eight years. By the end of this year, Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) expects to have reduced the backlog by about 20 percent. Of the applications cleared from the backlog, the majority met the requirements of the program and have been approved.Furthermore, there has been strong uptake of the new Parent and Grandparent Super Visa, which allows parents and grandparents to visit Canada for up to two years at a time. The Super Visa is very popular, with over 10,000 Super Visas being issued since its launch in December 2011, and the acceptance rate is high at 87 percent.
“We listened to Canadians who told us the old program with eight-year wait times just didn’t work,” said Minister Kenney. “The Harper Government’s actions to fix the old broken program are working. Given the popularity of the Super Visa and planned permanent admissions of 25,000 in 2013, we expect to reunite up to 35,000 parents and grandparents with their families next year. This is a significant achievement and the highest number in nearly two decades.”
On March 23, 2012, CIC launched national public consultations on the redesign of the PGPprogram. Minister Kenney hosted roundtables with stakeholders and public online consultations were launched. The online consultations ran until May 25, 2012, and received a total of 6,444 responses, the highest number of responses ever received by CIC through an online consultation. A detailed summary of the results of the online consultations will be available shortly on CIC’s website.
For the PGP program to be sustainable, it must be redesigned to avoid future backlogs. The redesigned program must also be sensitive to fiscal constraints, bearing in mind Canada’s generous public health-care system and other social benefits.“As we work to dramatically reduce the backlog and wait times, work on the redesign of thePGP program is progressing well,” added Minister Kenney. “As promised, within the next year we expect to launch a modernized PGP program, one that ensures that future applicants are processed quickly and that the program operates on a sustainable basis.
November 05, 2012