Also announced this month, Citizenship and Immigration Canada is introducing measures to speed up the processing of family sponsorship applications for parents and grandparents. The measures are intended to break through the backlog of applications in this class of immigrants.
It is now estimated that 18 000 parents and grandparents will immigrate in 2005, up from an original projection of only 6 000. The same increase in the number of applications processed is expected for 2006. Increased processing is expected to begin immediately.
Minister Volpe has also indicated that CIC will be more open to issuing visitor visas for grandparents and parents while their sponsorship applications are in process. Visiting parents and grandparents will still be required to demonstrate that their stay will be temporary. Additionally, regular health screening will be enforced, requiring some parents to have private health coverage prior to visiting.
While the Government of Canada will be investing $36 million a year during 2005 and 2006 to cover the costs of increased processing, Minister Volpe will be seeking long-term solutions with the cooperation of the provinces, territories, and local communities. According to Minister Volpe “Reuniting families is a commitment of the Government of Canada as well as a key priority of Canada’s immigration program.” The Minister expects that increasing the efficiency of immigration processing will address this important issue.