MISSISSAUGA: Canada will accept applications from 25,000 parents and grandparents for admission in 2013 – the same level as in 2012, immigration minister Jason Kenney said here on Monday.
Since 2012 was the first year of the government’s Action Plan for Faster Family Reunification, Kenney said admission of 50,000 parents and grandparents in two years is a 60 percent jump from 2010.
This is the highest level of intake of parents and grandparents (PGP) in two decades, according to the minister.
Kenney said the Action Plan was aimed at addressing the huge backlog of PGP applications that rose to 165,000 with wait time of up to eight years. He said the PGP backlog will be cut by 20 percent by the end of this year and by half by 2014.
Kenney said since the old family reunification program had become “virtually dysfunctional,’’ the government was working on designing it. “We listened to Canadians who told us the old program with eight-year wait times just didn’t work. The Harper Government’s actions to fix the old broken program are working,’’ he said.
He said the PGP program must be redesigned to avoid future backlogs as well as 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 the PGP program is progressing well. 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,’’ Kenney said.
The minister said the newly introduced Parent and Grandparent Super Visa – which allows parents and grandparents to visit Canada for up to two years at a time – has been very popular as over 10,000 Super Visas have been issued since its launch in December 2011.
“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,’’ Kenney said.