The Canadian government has launched an online consultation process to redesign the country’s Parent and Grandparent Immigration Programme (PGP). In-person consultations are soon to follow in a number of cities.
The new consultations appear to have two key aims – to cut the long wait times for PGP applicants and to avoid too much of a constraint on the country’s coffers.
Who Can Sponsor:
Under the current guidelines, Canadian citizens and permanent residents can sponsor their parents and grandparents on the condition they will look after them for ten years. During this period, the sponsor is responsible for the upkeep while Canada’s universal medical care system provides them with the medical needs.
And sponsors should be able to demonstrate they have the means to provide for their own family as well as those whom they are sponsoring.
The backlog for the PGP has been growing. According to data provided by Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) – the federal department in charge of immigration – on average more than 30,000 applications are filed every year, while the government had been decreasing the number of approvals. As a result, the backlog grew to close to 170,000.
To resolve this issue, last November the CIC decided to freeze accepting new applications for two years while increasing by 60-percent the approvals, to 25,000.
The online consultation is yet another step in auditing the PGP, the CIC says.
Among the options the CIC says can be considered are:
- Should those sponsoring their parents and grandparents be responsible for the financial well-being throughout their lifetime? At present, seniors who meet certain criteria are eligible for some forms of old-age benefits such as the Old Age Security (OAS).
- Should parents and grandparents be required to have at least half of their children living in Canada?
- Should only Canadian citizens, and not permanent residents, be allowed to sponsor their parents and grandparents?
The online consultations are open until May 25, 2012.
The CIC says the input through the online and townhall consultations will help it to redesign and redefine the programme.
Mixed Feelings on PGP
Canadians appear to be mixed in their views of the PGP. According to the CIC, which ran a number of online and town-hall consutlations last year to ascertain public’s view on of immigration, about half the respondients in the online survey felt it was not important to maintain the PGP stream, and sixty percent felt they did not believe the parents and grandparents should be given the same priority as spouses and children. But when asked how the CIC should handle the current backlog, most respondents felt the visa approval numbers should go up.
Respondents also felt sponsors should be better financially settled before they are allowed to sponsor their parents or grandparents.
If you want to participate in the online consultation, visit the relevant CIC site.