The super visa is not the solution

Family reunification is the pillar/cornerstone of Canada immigration policy and a stated objective by virtue of Article 3 (d) of the IRPA 2002. The keyword is “reunited”, a Canadian citizen or permanent resident subject to certain conditions shall be allowed to sponsor family members enabling reunification in order to attain the policy / program objectives under the act. The objective is reached by the introduction of programs that can be used by a Canadian citizen or permanent resident to reunite them with their families. It is important to note that Canadian immigration policies can be stringent and flexible; this depends upon several factors such as social, economic, humanitarian and so on.

The question that needs to be addressed is does the temporary cessation or moratorium pertaining to family reunification of parents and grandparents sponsorship serve Canada’s family reunification policy and objectives?

“As of November 5, 2011, no new applications to sponsor parents or grandparents of Canadian citizens and permanent resident will be accepted for processing for up to 24 months”.

According to CIC minister Jason Kenney, the gist or aim behind the temporary pause or cessation is to reduce the enormous backlog of about “165,000 parents and grandparents who are trying to re-join family in Canada”. In other words such a pause will grant CIC officers a 2 year grace period enabling them to process applications that can “exceed 7 years” to finalize. Therefore, in order to deal with the backlog the government introduced the “Super Visa” as a panacea to overcome the problem. Minister Kenney repeated the Canadian government’s dedication and commitment towards processing the parents and grandparents Super Visa “in less than 8 weeks and reuniting families through this type of visa”. But does this type of visa bolster family reunification or is it rather disappointing?

The so-called Super Visa will be good for 10 years subject to being renewed by every two years. But not all applicants are eligible and one of the stringent factors requires that the applicant provides proof that they have purchased comprehensive medical insurance valid for at least 1 year. Can everyone afford this? In other words the more you stay the more you will have to pay for your health coverage. Other requirements include providing a written commitment of financial support from their child or grandchild in Canada, including proof that the child /grandchild meet the minimum necessary income (LICO). The list of requirements is stringent, so can we considered it as Super?

In my opinion the temporary pause did not remedy the problem; it exasperated the problem at hand. The government insists that these measures will eventually reduce the backlog, but are they responsible for such delays that are prevalent in every category whether under the family class or economic class. Introducing a Super Visa to circumvent or bypass the initial problem is not the solution, there are other ways to reduce the backlog, such as increasing the financial and human resources to deal with this problem rather than implementing pause. Super Visa will only provide opportunities for parents / grandparents to visit Canada at a costly expense; moreover it will certainly not provide them with the opportunity to become Canadian permanent residents or Canadian citizenship. Nevertheless, I personally consider this phase of action a move to reduce the financial burden on the Canadian health system. Time will tell whether such a policy will have an adverse or positive outcome.

Ahmad AlAzem
Immigration Program Student at Ashton College
under the tutelage of Jose Godoy Toku

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