Canadian Family Sponsorship changes 2012
News Release – National consultations on parent and grandparent immigration launched by Minister Kenney
In this news release, Minister Kenney stated that “Our government is fully committed to helping families reunite,” said Minister Kenney. “The feedback provided by Canadians will guide our government in creating a new program in which future applications will be processed quickly and backlogs will not develop. It will also help ensure the program can operate on an efficient and sustainable basis.”
There has been a temporary pause of 24 months put on the Family Sponsorship Program, to allow for consultation on how to revamp the Program for the future. Consultations are ongoing with various stakeholders. The goal is to develop a Program that will not lead to future backlogs. Issues that have been noted are such things as more transparency, being forthcoming in helping people understand the eligibility requirements.
Much discussion is underway as to who will ultimately bare the financial responsibility for the parents & grandparents. Should it be the Sponsor or the Sponsoring Candidate? Should they have major family connections already in Canada before they are allowed to come? What is a fair and just eligibility criterion and how should this be measured? Should becoming a Canadian Citizen be a part of the Program? Should the period of financial responsibility of the Sponsor be increased from 3 years to over their lifetime? Good questions and I can’t wait to find out the answers to everything in due course.
I found a live post from an Immigrant Magazine [Canadian Immigrant June issue] by a man named Sergio which I feel further illustrates the confusion surrounding financial responsibility in the Family Classes:
“I want than my mother, from Cuba, visits me and my family (wife and children’s) in my home for two months. The consulate in Habana denied the visa, they explain than my mother has: insatisfactory personal assets and financial status including income or assets to carry out her stated purpose in coming to Canada or to maintaining herself while in Canada ad to effect your departure. In the invitation letter I said I will take care of my Mother expenses, and I attached to the visa application my income taxes, more than the minimum necessary income for one person… but this did was not enough to convince the consulate official. Is anything there I can do to bring my mother after this?”
This case makes me sad to hear about this man’s family troubles. And Family Class issues really do tug at the heart strings in a way that the economic classes don’t. Right now, the Canadian Government has shut down the program of “Family sponsorship” for various reasons; mostly because of rising costs of healthcare I’m sure despite what the news release states.
This has been replaced with the Grandparents Super Visa scheme which is currently running. The Grandparents Super Visa Program is the appropriate program for Sergio’s situation right now. A fundamental change with the new program schemes of the super visa is that the grandparents need to show that they are economically established in their home country, and that there is absolutely no fear of them staying for the long-term in Canada. This is very important to show, and it sounds like for whatever reason, the visa officer in the family case above was not convinced enough of the mother’s financial status in her home country. While I certainly do not have the full facts of this case (inadmissibility factors), the visa officer perhaps did not see this as a temporary visit with family and rather a permanent residency attempt. The financial ability of the sponsoring family in Canada doesn’t seem to be as important as the sponsorship candidate’s own status. So this is a good illustration of the very different priorities that exist between the new Super Visa and the (old) Family Sponsorship programs.
Perhaps Sergio’s Mother could apply for a resident visitor’s visa. They could start there and have a lovely visit with family. The resident visa could be good for more than two months, and would allow a temporary reunification of the family.
Remember that the Immigrant Refugee Protection Act – the laws that govern immigration – they are written this way:
- Family Reunification
- Economic Classes
And so the family reunification part of the Act is now under “revision”. The Program is set to re-open in about two years. At that point, Sergio could consider re-applying to sponsor his Mother from Cuba under the Family Sponsorship Scheme. It’s a long wait, but nothing’s impossible. And remember that the Act still allows for family reunification, and that the ACT (the law) is on Sergio’s side. No matter what happens, I would need to quote the ACT and the LAWS because that is what will perk up the ears of the visa officer.
I would review sections of the IRPR and IRPA (Family Sponsorship) and begin to make my argument for the family. I would also review if there is a possibility of exception under humanitarian or compassionate grounds.
Also, there is a Guide specifically for Latin America http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/pdf/kits/guides/3908e.pdf However, Cuba is not listed on this Guide of Instructions. And so I did not apply any specifics to my discussion from that particular Guide.
IRPA 3 (1) (d) Family reunification as part of the ACT
IRPR 12.1 Entitlement to Permanent Residency for a qualifying Member of the Family Class
IRPA 13 (1) Definition of a Sponsor
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