This month the Conservative government announced a two-year suspension on sponsorship immigration applications for parents and grandparents of Canadians.
The move comes after increasing pressures to address the 165,000 application backlog that has ballooned to the point where current processing times are in the range of seven years. If nothing changes, wait times could increase to ten years by 2018, according to some estimates.
“We understand how important it is for Canadians, including new Canadians, to live with their loved ones,” said Immigration Minister Jason Kenney upon making the announcement. “That is why it is absolutely essential that we bring in a temporary pause on applications.”
However, in an attempt to quell any backlash from their immigrant voters, the Conservatives are simultaneously introducing a new kind of visitor visa for relatives of Canadians. The parent and grandparent visa will be valid for a period of ten years, though visitors will only be able to stay in Canada for periods of two years at one time. In certain cases, applicants will have to undergo medical examinations and/or show that their relative will have the means to financially support them.
At the same time, the Conservatives plan to increase sponsorship quotas by 60 percent, or 25,000 per year.
Critics, however, say that even more should be done to raise quotas, not only to ease the backlog, but to address the looming labour shortages that Canada is already beginning to feel as the baby-boomer generation retires.
Source: Globe and Mail