I am pleased to provide information and clarification regarding a letter to the editor written by an immigration consultant which was recently published in your paper.
The immigration consultant stated that “changes will be introduced that will mean that immigrants can no longer include dependent children older than 18 years old.”
I would like to clarify this. The proposal was pre-published in the Canada Gazette Part I on May 18, 2013, along with the proposed regulatory changes to the Parent Grandparent Program (PGP). While the changes to the PGP program came into effect earlier this year, currently no changes have been made to reduce the age of dependents from under 22 to under 19.
The purpose of pre-publication is to gather comments from the public which may further inform our policy. Comments related to the scope of the proposed transitional provisions were received and those comments are currently being reviewed.
Our Government’s priority is having an immigration system focused on Canada’s economic and labour force needs. Having a fast, efficient and effective immigration system is crucial for Canada’s long-term prosperity.
When our Government first took office in 2006, we inherited a system that was mismanaged and poorly suited to meet the needs of Canadians. Successive Liberal governments had let the backlog of applications balloon out of control and they were not doing enough to ensure that new Canadians were able to contribute to the economy as quickly as possible.
Since taking office, our Government has worked hard to undo these errors. The application backlog for Skilled Workers has been reduced by over 150,000 people and applications are being processed in as little as one year, as opposed to five.
In 2011, our Government campaigned on a promise to cut the wait times and the backlog for the sponsorship of parents and grandparents. That same year we began to deliver on that promise by introducing phase one of our Action Plan for Faster Family Reunification. As of January 2014, we re-opened the Parent and Grandparent Program (PGP). This program has been redesigned so that it will further reduce backlog and increase processing time.
Specifically, our Government is introducing new qualifying criteria for Canadian residents who wish to sponsor their parents or grandparents. This new criteria will increase the financial responsibility that sponsors must assume from 10 years to 20 years, limiting the burden on taxpayers and our health care system.
Phase two of the Action Plan for Faster Family Reunification also makes our Super Visa program permanent. This 10 year, multiple-entry visa allows successful applicants to stay in Canada for up to two years and will help keep our immigration system flexible and suited to the needs of families.
These measures will help us keep high levels of immigration without putting a strain on the system. An effective immigration system is one of the key’s to Canada’s future. We are one of the few nations that have a generous family reunification program, and it is one of the main reasons why Canada continues to be a destination of choice for talented, entrepreneurial newcomers.
That’s why our Government will continue to make it more effective and better suited to the needs of potential sponsors, while ensuring that taxpayer dollars are respected and used responsibly.
Canadians can trust our Government to keep Canada’s immigration system working in the best interest of Canadians.
MP David Anderson - Cypress Hills-Grasslands