The government of Canada in 2011 had frozen visa applications under a special immigration program, to cope up with a massive backlog of waiting time of nearly eight years. The government had resumed accepting applications in January 2014 under new criteria and also restricted the number of applications to 5000 only. The limit was reached in just thirty three days and the doors have closed again for the current year.The sponsoring relatives were supposed to meet the following new criteria:
• A thirty per cent increase in the minimum necessary income. 34,646 dollars to 45,039 dollars in the income of a family consisting of three members of the sponsoring relatives.
• Proof that the income level has been met in the last three years as against the previous requirement of one year only.
• The sponsoring period would now be twenty years which doubles from the previous requirement of ten years.
The above measures taken are meant to reduce social dependency on the Government of Canada.
The good news is that, reportedly, a half of the backlog has already been cleared and the bad news is that only two thirds of the pending applications can be expected to be cleared by the end of year 2015. Statistically, in two years time 50 per cent backlog could be cleared then why only 25 per cent in the next two years? Why not the entire backlog and achieve a hundred per cent in a similar time period? At least the back log portion could be cleared and may be a little bit longer to attend to the added 5000 fresh applicants this year. Some extra efforts will surely be required if we have to believe that the government sincerely understands the importance of family reunion and recognizes the significance of improvement in the immigration system.
With the news of closure for fresh applications under the above special scheme there may be a lot of despondency but the bright part remains that the ten year multiple entry visa still remains active. The worrisome part, however, is that according to the CIC website the average processing time to grant a visa for reunification stills remains 2 to 3 years. The fastest being for Hong Kong with a handing-out time of 12 months from the time the application is received.
The government is suggesting the rationale that parents and grandparents mean more social and economic burden for the government and the society in general. In effect, it may be not so simple to prove so because there are no hard statistics to support the explanation. In fact, it may prove to be the reverse in terms of economic outlook as there are fewer remittances that go away from Canada. Also, the parents and grandparents bring in saving and spending power that translates into earnings for the government.