Here’s to Hoping
There has been a lot of buzz and some mixed opinion regarding the decision by Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) to re-open, ever so slightly, the door to parent and grandparent sponsorship.
For anyone unfamiliar with this subject matter, the Canadian government, after a hiatus of two years, is once again permitting a limited number of Canadian citizens and permanent residents to sponsor their parents/grandparents. As of January 2, 2014, a total of 5,000 sponsorship applications in this category will be considered for visa issuance.
Some Canadians feel that granting permanent resident visas to elderly and soon-to-be elderly individuals makes no sense at all. They argue that these new arrivals are unlikely to contribute to Canada’s economic well-being and are quite likely to become net takers from our already overburdened healthcare system.
Others complain that there is a basic inequality built into the parent sponsorship program. These folks argue that eligibility is limited to the well-heeled and they have a point. The average annual income in Canada is around $46,500 and therefore many would-be sponsors will not be able to demonstrate that their total annual income meets the minimum necessary income to support themselves, their immediate family members residing in Canada as well as the parents they intend to sponsor. Are hard working Canadians, who earn a lower salary, any less deserving of family re-unification? There’s no simple answer.
At the end of the day, most Canadians will agree that we are demographically challenged and that the strategic intake of immigrants will be part of any solution to our aging population. We want the best and brightest from around the world to choose Canada as the place where they lay down roots. However, we’re not along in this desire. Other developed countries like the U.S., Australia and New Zealand are also looking to attract the cream of the crop, when it comes to young productive immigrants. All of the aforementioned countries allow for parent sponsorship in one form or another, and to remain competitive Canada will have to do the same.
Just before the New Year, one of my clients and I were interviewed for the Daybreak Show on CBC Radio. These issues and others were discussed.
Here’s hoping we get it right.