SO what’s the truth?
Citizenship and Immigration Minister Chris Alexander this week sent a press release titled “Super Visa hits super milestone – Program helps families reunite faster.”
Not so fast, countered NDP MP Jinny Sims. Her press release was titled “Parent and grandparent sponsorship hits 10-year delay for applicants from India.”
Sims’ statement said: “Wait times for parent and grandparent sponsorship for applicants from India are now over a decade long and New Democrats are demanding answers from the Conservative government.”
She said: “The Conservatives need to come clean about why it takes over ten years to process a single application for parent and grandparent sponsorship from India. The evidence shows that the Conservatives’ plan for clearing the backlog is failing. Since the moratorium for applications was put in place, the wait times have only increased.”
Sims stressed that the Super Visa program doesn’t address the real issue.
“Parents and grandparents don’t want to be treated like tourists; they want to be legitimately reunited with their loved ones,” she noted.
“It’s a sense of family values and the importance of being with your family that the Conservatives don’t seem to get. After a decade of Conservative mismanagement, only Tom Mulcair’s NDP has the plan to fix the damage done to our immigration system.”
BUT Alexander boasted: “Over 50,000 of the popular Parent and Grandparent Super Visas have been issued since its December 2011 launch, as part of Phase I of the Action Plan for Faster Family Reunification.”
His statement added: “This multiple-entry visa is valid for up to 10 years and provides parents and grandparents with the flexibility of being able to visit family in Canada for up to two years without needing to renew their status.”
Alexander made the announcement at the Surrey-Delta Indo Canadian Seniors Centre in Surrey, noting that the 50,000th Super Visa had recently been issued.
The statement said: “Parents and grandparents wanting to visit their families in Canada for a longer period of time continue to take advantage of the Parent and Grandparent Super Visa. Approval rates have remained consistently high since the launch of the Super Visa.”
With close to 1,200 Super Visas being approved monthly, this remains one of Citizenship and Immigration Canada’s most popular programs. Super Visa applications are processed quickly—with over 80 percent of all Super Visa applications processed in under three months. The majority of Super Visa applicants come from India and China—with Philippine and Pakistan nationals also among the top users of the visa.
Alexander said: “Canada has one of the most generous family reunification programs in the world. We admit more parents and family members than most other developed countries. With the Parent and Grandparent Super Visa, eligible parents and grandparents pay fewer status renewal fees and have certainty that they will be able to enjoy the company of their families in Canada for a longer period of time. Today we mark the milestone of 50,000 Super Visas approved since the introduction of the Super Visa program on December 1, 2011; with an overall approval rate of 82 percent. The Super Visa gives eligible parents and grandparents an opportunity to spend extended periods of time with their families in Canada and I’m proud to highlight today’s milestone in support of families.”