The Conservative government claimed Thursday an official end to the two-year freeze it imposed on Canada’s parent and grandparent immigration stream, a measure it deemed necessary to deal with an application backlog, caused by the Conservative’s own mismanagement. But the supposed victory is facing tough criticism from the Official Opposition.
“It’s hardly a success story,” said Jinny Sims (Newton-North Delta), the NDP’s critic for Employment and Social Development, and its former Immigration critic. “Only the first 5,000 completed application forms will be processed, on top of already heightened sponsorship criteria. Families throughout my riding and all over the country remain devastated, missing loved ones.”
Sims referred to the Conservative government’s recent sponsorship changes, which now require would-be sponsors to demonstrate income levels that are 30 per cent higher than the previous norm and a promise to look after the financial needs of their loved ones for 20 years, instead of the previous 10 year commitment.
Canada remains a competitive option for bright and talented prospective immigrants in part because it offers family reunification; but, the low number of applications processed annually could hinder Canada’s appeal.
“First they freeze the program altogether; now it’s supposedly open, but to a miniscule number of applicants, and only the most economically advantaged,” said Sims. “This personally affects my constituents by the thousands. I, along with my New Democrat colleagues, am fighting hard to make family reunification a top priority for immigration.”