People all over the world can now apply for a Canadian ‘parent and grandparent super visa’. Valid for up to 10 years, it allows an applicant to remain in Canada for up to 24 months at a time without renewal of their status.
Canadian visa officers expect to issue super visas within eight weeks of application. This means that instead of waiting for eight years, a parent or a grandparent can come to Canada within eight weeks.
The super visa was welcomed across the political divide in Canada.
A press release from the Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration quoted Liberal immigration critic Kevin Lamoureux as saying, “It will help families being reunited immensely. A lot of people will be happy to hear about that,” in the Winnipeg Free Press.
Don Davies, NDP immigration critic, welcomed increased intake of parents and grandparents in the Globe and Mail.
However, in a letter to the editor, Lamoureux said the visa “has turned out to be an insult to families desperate to bring their parents here... most families won’t be able to afford the high-costs involved with the visa, including meeting minimum salary levels and paying thousands for private health insurance.”
Immigration lawyer Richard Kurland estimated that about 20 per cent of those parents and grandparents in the queue for permanent residency would withdraw their application if they could secure a long-term, multiple-entry visa instead. Roger Bhatti, also an immigration lawyer, feels the super visa would alleviate some of the distress that’s been caused by the increase in the wait periods which is now approaching seven years.
The reaction in the immigrant community is that many parents and grandparents do not wish to stay in Canada permanently anyway – they find the winters intimidating and have their own networks back home. Thus a visa that allows them to stay for extended periods and to travel back and forth without fresh renewals each time is a good thing.
Amy Casipullai, Senior Policy and Communications Co-ordinator, Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants, said, “It’s a really good idea. It could be a way for parents and grandparents to be here while their applications for sponsorship are being processed.”
However, since parent and grandparent super visa applicants will be required to obtain private Canadian health care insurance for their stay in Canada, there is concern that the costs are too high and may work as a deterrent. Numbers over the next few months will indicate how successful the super visa really is.