Critics are expressing concern that recent changes to Canada’s parent and grandparent sponsorship programs will not be enough to offset the financial costs of welcoming aging immigrants.
As of 2014, the government will reopen the popular sponsorship immigration stream, which had been suspended after a 160,000 application backlog had increased waiting times to as high as eight years in some instances.
The government has introduced new regulations to streamline the process and ensure that the backlog does not build back up again. One change has been to raise the financial responsibility of those who are sponsoring loved ones.
However, some critics are now expressing concern over whether those new responsibilities will offset the actual costs of providing health and social services to aging relatives. Some experts estimate that an aging immigrant can cost up to $300,000 in services after their arrival in Canada.
The government has already introduced quotas in an attempt to keep costs down, but most policymakers are hesitant to come forward too strongly against sponsorship of the elderly, which would risk alienating a large segment of the ethnic minority vote.
In general, however, despite favouring skilled immigration, the majority of Canadians are wary of parent and grandparent sponsorships, precisely because of the cost to taxpayers. It is up to the government now to try to find a balance between the needs of Canadian taxpayers, the economy and skilled immigrants who want to bring their aging relatives with them in embarking on their new life in Canada.
Source: Ottawa Citizen