Canadian Immigration Department Issues over 15,000 Super Visas Since Dec 2011

Parents and grandparents of permanent residents and citizens of Canada can visit Canada for up to ten years with a Parent and Grandparent Super Visa (Diego Grez)

The federal government has issued over 15,000 Parent and Grandparent Super Visas since the launch of the program in December 2011.

The visa replaces the prior Parent and Grandparent Family Class sponsorship stream, whereby Canadian permanent residents and citizens could sponsor their parents and grandparents for permanent residence.

Instead, the Super Visa gives holders multiple re-entries into Canada for up to ten years, and allows them to stay in Canada for up to two years on each stay, unlike other visitor visas which only allow a stay of up to six months each time.

Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) says that Super Visa applicants are required to prove they are financially self-sufficient, have comprehensive medical insurance during their stay in Canada, and have passed the medical check required of applicants for immigration to Canada, that verifies that the applicant has no costly medical conditions.

The acceptance rate for Super Visa applications is 86 percent according to CIC.

Visitors and Students to Canada From India Booming According to Immigration Department

The Canadian High Commission in Chandigarh. The visa office has seen rapid growth in the number of study permits and visitor visas issued to Indian nationals in the region (GOOGLE MAPS)

The number of visitor visas the Canadian government issues in India’s Punjab region has increased by 300 percent from 2005 levels according to Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC).

CIC says that approximately 17,608 visitor visas were issued in 2012 by its Chandigarh office, which serves the Punjab region.

The growth in the number of Indian visitors to Canada has corresponded with the rapid growth of India’s economy and the emergence of an increasingly sizeable Indian middle class with the disposable income to travel abroad.

The number of student visas issued has seen an even more dramatic increase. According to CIC, 5,200 student permits were issued by the Chandigarh office in 2012, a more than 3000 percent increase from the 173 issued by the office in 2004 when it first opened.

At Friday’s press conference, Citizenship and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney lauded his department’s achievements in reducing processing times for visitor visas for Indian visitors, from 12-days for 80 percent of cases in 2011, to 5-days in 2012 for the same portion of cases.

He also celebrated an 80 percent approval rate for applications it received through the office for its new Parent and Grandparent Super Visa, which CIC introduced in December 2011 as a replacement for the parent and grand-parent sponsorship stream of the Family Class permanent residence immigration program.

The Super Visa grants parents and grand-parents of Canadian citizens and permanent residents permission to stay in Canada for up to ten years without the need to apply for extensions to their visa.

Canadian Prime Minister Lays Out His Vision For Immigration To Canada

Prime Minister Stephen Harper told the Globe and Mail that Canada will need to compete for high value immigrants as other country look to immigration to solve their fiscal problems

In an interview on Saturday with the Globe and Mail, Canada’s largest national newspaper, Prime Minister Stephen Harper expounded in length on his vision for Canada’s immigration programs.

He told the Globe that competition for skilled international workers would heat up over the coming years, as “the demographic changes .. the aging population, start to bite, in many developed countries”.

He trumpeted his government’s achievements in reforming what he called the old “passive pro-immigration policy” which “operated on receiving applications and processing them in order” and had left his government with “backlogs of hundreds and hundreds of thousands of applications”.

He said his government is trying to shift to an “activist policy” where Canada goes out and recruits the immigrants it needs, and when it receives applications, “prioritize them to the country‚Äôs objectives.”

The Prime Minister said that as the rest of the developed world increases its immigration intake, Canada would need the activist immigration policy to “compete, and make sure we get the immigrants both in terms of volumes and particular attributes: skills, expertise and investment capacity.”

Under the Conservative government, Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) has legislatively wiped out the 280,000 application Federal Skilled Worker (FSW) program backlog, and frozen acceptance of new applications under both the FSW program and the Federal Immigrant Investor program as it re-designs the programs and reduces the backlogs.

CIC has also suspended the parent and grandparent sponsorship programs and replaced them with a ‘Super Visa’ that allows foreign parents and grandparents of Canadian citizens and landed immigrants to visit Canada for up to ten years.

‘Super Visa’ a Big Hit, Over 3500 Granted Since Dec.

A grandfather plays with his granddaughter. The Super Visa lets parents and grandparents of Canadian permanent residents and citizens visit Canada for up to 10 years without being required to apply for visa renewals and extensions. (Burpelson AFB)

The new Super Visa, a special visa for the parents and grandparents of Canadian citizens and permanent residents, has been granted to over 3,500 applicants since its introduction in December of last year, according to the Canadian Immigration Ministry.

The Ministry said that 83 percent of applications have thus far been approved, with an average processing time of less than eight weeks.

The Parent and Grandparent Super Visa was introduced as a replacement for the parent and grandparent category of the family sponsorship for permanent residence program, which was temporarily suspended in November 2011 in order to stem the build-up in the backlog of sponsorship applications in the parent and grandparent category.

The new visa allows holders to visit Canada for up to 10 years, and stay for up to two years on each visit without being required to get an extension after six months as required by holders of regular visitor visas.