On November 4, 2011, the federal government introduced its plan for reducing the backlog in parent and grandparent sponsorship applications.  With more than 165,000 applications in the queue, and a wait time approaching a decade, it was clear that something had to be done.

The government’s plan involves numerous phases:

One – Increase by over 60 percent the number of sponsored parents and grandparents Canada will admit next year, from nearly 15,500 in 2010 to 25,000 in 2012.

Two – Introduce a new “Parent and Grandparent Super Visa,”which will be valid for up to 10 years. The multiple-entry visa will allow an applicant to remain in Canada for up to 24 months at a time without the need for renewal of their status. The Parent and Grandparent Super Visa will come into effect on December 1, 2011. Parent and Grandparent Super Visa applicants will be required to obtain private Canadian health-care insurance for their stay in Canada.

Three  The government will consult stakeholders on how to redesign the parents and grandparents program to ensure that it is sustainable in the future.

Four – There will be a temporary pause of up to 24 months on the acceptance of new sponsorship applications for parents and grandparents. The pause comes into effect on November 5, 2011.

Thoughts?

For those who have never thought about the issue before, the following points are worth considering:

  • Is it fair to the Canadian taxpayer to pay for the costs of healthcare of individuals who have paid less into the system than those who have lived here all their lives?  The statistics are clear that the elderly consume a disproportionate share of health care dollars compared to younger individuals.
  • Should naturalized Canadians, who pay taxes, and often earn above what the average Canadian makes, not have the choice to take care of their parents just like Canadian-born Canadians can?
  • In terms of the economic arguments, what about the fact that for immigrants with children the presence of their parents and/or grandparents can allow those immigrants to work?
  • Would potential immigrants still choose Canada if they know that they cannot sponsor their parents to move here permanently?
So what do you think?  If you were designing a new parental / grandparent sponsorship program what would it look like?