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Who needs a Canadian super visa?

Before the temporary pause, applicants for parent and grandparent sponsorship continued to rise and Canadians and permanent residents have been waiting for many years for their sponsorship applications. When Citizenship and Immigration Canada imposed the two-year pause of Canadian and Permanent Resident’s Parent and Grandparent sponsorship on November 5, 2011 under Ministerial Instructions, their office consequently introduced Super Visa on Dec 1, 2011.

This is one of CIC’s plans of action to combat the backlog of 165.000 applications for parents and grandparents waiting for a decision and for faster family reunification. Super Visa will give parents and grandparents of Canadians and Permanent Residents a chance to stay in Canada for a period of two years without the need to reapply and pay for the fees every six months.

They can also apply for extension if there’s the need to renew their visitor’s permit before the two years expires. Applicants who have pending application for permanent Canadian residency are also eligible to apply in this category. Citizenship and Immigration Canada receives over 38,000 applications yearly for parent and grandparent sponsorship application. The quota will increase to 25,000, which is 60% more than previous years. Public consultations will continue within the two-year pause to come up with more programs to enhance this category and facilitate faster processing. CIC will deal at the same time with the applications that have been waiting assessment for a long time.

With the immediate issuance of Super Visa and the two-year permit, many parents and grandparents can turn around and withdraw their applications because they don’t want to live in Canada permanently. Many of them have a stable life back in their home countries, residences, professions, businesses, friends and extended families. They can enjoy and spend some time with their family here in Canada longer without paying fees every six months and can continue to go back and forth between Canada and their home country.

Requirements for Super Visa application includes:

  • Proof of relationship in Canada with a child or grandchild who is a Canadian or Permanent Resident.
  • Purchase a private medical insurance with a minimum coverage of at least $100,000 for up to one year.
  • Letter of invitation from a Canadian or Permanent Resident child or grandchild, which also serves as a letter of financial support for the applicant.

To apply for a Parent and Grandparent Super Visa, the applicant can apply for multiple entry Canada visa of up to ten years and need to fill up and submit the form: Application for a Temporary Resident Visa Made Outside of Canada [IMM5257] to a visa post abroad along with the appropriate fees and provide the necessary supporting documents.

Parent or grandparent of a Canadian citizen or permanent resident who are visa-exempt from entering Canada can also apply to take advantage of the two year stay under the Parent and Grandparent Super Visa. In this case, an applicant can apply and exempted from paying the fees, if approved will be given a letter to present to Canada Border Services Agency officer at the port of entry upon arriving in Canada where the officer can issue a permit of up to two years.

The first Super Visa was issued in Manila two weeks after the announcement and in less than three months, more than one thousand have been approved. There is a higher overall approval rate of 77%. The goal of spending extended quality time with families here in Canada is becoming a reality to most parents and grandparents of Canadians and permanent residents.

CIC aim to give a decision in less than eight weeks and rigorously work on the rising number of applications. As long as the applicant provide evidence of support from a Canadian/Permanent resident child or grandchild that meets the required income, medical insurance, Immigration medical examination and other standard eligibility criteria for visa application, the applicant will most likely get an approval. Aside from faster family reunification, rest assured parents and grandparents are covered and Canadian relative will be free from financial troubles in case any unforeseen circumstances occur especially the high cost of medical bills.

It will largely benefit relatives in Canada having parents and grandparents around to help with their children when they go to work and spending precious time with them and at the same time contributing to the tourism industry in Canada. Immigration Minister Kenney is pleased to see that this policy shows effective results and happy families. He also continues to promote Super Visa applications to countries like China, as there is also an increase of visitors from China through this contributing factor. In India alone, Super Visa applications soared to 1000 in the first month. Overall increase in tourist traffic persists and with the medical insurance requirements, many insurance companies compete with each other in the need of such insurance for parent and grandparent. Some companies have already lowered their prices to be more competitive.

Moreover, the need for further training and extensive knowledge of Canadian Immigration officers with regards to current rules and regulations can be an issue not only with the issuance of Super Visa but with other permits. The controversy on Super Visa application continues as many also did not agree with the two-year pause of parent and grandparent sponsorship and using Super Visa as a cover up for some anti-immigrant policies. Parent and Grandparent sponsorship is one reason why many immigrants choose to settle in Canada and the two-year pause of sponsorship application brings uncertainty of the future sponsorship.

Aside from meeting the minimum salary, those who cannot afford the high cost of private medical insurance should wait until the prices goes down and those who can afford should take advantage of the current Super Visa application to ultimately reap the benefit and bring their parent and grandparent to Canada while Citizenship and Immigration Canada is still trying to figure out how to solve the backlog and tackling the enormous amount of current applications that keeps rising while meeting the eight week visa issuance deadline.

Mary Jone Causing Buchholtz
Immigration Program Student at Ashton College
under the tutelage of Jose Godoy Toku

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