That’s right – since 2011 Citizenship and Immigration Canada have not been accepting sponsorship applications from citizens or permanent residents to bring their parents and grandparents from their home countries to Canada.
This has caused a lot of hardship for many families.
There’s the physical separation that is sometimes difficult to overcome. It can cost a lot of money to travel overseas, and if a parent or grandparent is from a country that requires a travel visa, they may not have been successful at getting one, meaning travel to Canada was out of the question.
Aside from the separation aspect, many younger immigrant families rely on parents and grandparents to provide child care so that both spouses can work and earn a living.
Without that support, a couple faces expensive child care or has to go without. An untenable situation to be sure.
As an interim measure, CIC is offering “supervisas” to parents, which – if successful – allows a parent or grandparent to visit up to 10 years.
But this can be a costly application.
The sponsor has to show that he or she has the requisite medical insurance in place for the parent or grandparent at the time of application. These insurance policies are not cheap and they have to cover the entire stay. Any health problems and the rates get even higher. Some sponsors have faced private medical coverage costing thousands of dollars.
However, the sponsorship program – which will allow parents and grandparents to obtain Canadian permanent residence – will re-open on January 2, 2014.
That’s still about 3 years since it was suspended, but at least it will be offered again, and hopefully with much faster processing times (processing under the previous program could often take 10 years!).
There is a twist to the new program. If the parent or grandparent has a dependent, the age cut-off will be 18 (and not 21 and under as before).
Although individuals who are financially dependent because of mental or physical disability will still qualify, those attending post-secondary education beyond age 18 will not be. This is a big change from the previous program where individuals over 18 but studying full-time were considered dependents. This will no longer be the case.
I will continue to post updates as more becomes known about the new program.
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