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Should grandparents be allowed to immigrate to Canada?

Should grandma and grandpa be allowed to immigrate to Canada?

 By Reis Pagtakhan, for CBC News Posted: Dec 06, 2015 7:00 AM CT Last Updated: Dec 06, 2015 7:00 AM CT

Winnipeg immigration lawyer Reis Pagtakhan says ambitious new immigration targets may not be quite what they seem.

Winnipeg immigration lawyer Reis Pagtakhan says ambitious new immigration targets may not be quite what they seem. (CBC)

In 2011, due to a large backlog of applications, the federal government froze the immigration program that allowed Canadians and permanent residents to sponsor and bring their foreign parents and grandparents to Canada.

When the program was reopened in 2014, the backlog had not yet been eliminated. As a result, the government limited the number of parent and grandparent applications it would accept to 5,000 per year.

Because demand was so great, the 5,000 application quota was quickly met. The quota was met by February of 2014. In 2015, the quota was met by mid-January.

‘A commitment to take in more applications without a commitment to complete more is an empty promise.’ – Reis Pagtakhan 

In the last federal election, the Liberals announced they would double the quota of parents and grandparent applications to 10,000 per year. On Jan. 4, 2016, the immigration program will reopen again. The first question to the Immigration Minister is whether he will increase the application quota for 2016, or wait until 2017.

Even if the quota is increased, a careful reading of the Liberal platform reveals that while they have committed to increasing the number of applications that can be submitted, no specific promise has been made as to how applications would be completed each year.

Empty promises

A commitment to take in more applications without a commitment to complete more is an empty promise. It is a bit like the feeling a person gets when escorted from a doctor’s external waiting room to a doctor’s internal waiting room. You feel like you are making progress but, until you actually see the doctor, you really have only moved chairs. If more chairs are added to the waiting room but the number of doctors in the clinic remains the same, your wait will actually increase.

As of April 1, 2015, more than 68,000 parents and grandparents were in Canada’s immigration waiting room. What Canadian families need to know from the immigration minister is how many applications will be approved each year and whether doubling the number of applications accepted will increase wait times.

‘While the Canadian government should increase its target of economic immigrants, keeping the number of parents and grandparents at between 6% and 7% is fair.’– Reis Pagtakhan

Knowing how long these immigration applications take is important, because the current processing times are abysmal. At present, some parent and grandparent applications can take 10 years or more to process. As a result, unless the government completes more applications than it accepts, a parent who files an application in 2016 would have a better chance of seeing their Canadian children at the 2024 Olympics (wherever that may be) than in Canada.

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