Canada says it ought to lengthen ‘great visa’ stays, sit back health-insurance restrictions to ease family reunifications

Starting subsequent month, the federal authorities will lengthen how prolonged Canadians’ visiting mom and father and grandparents can carry on this nation and allow them to utilize worldwide medical medical insurance all through their time proper right here — two long-sought modifications to this nation’s controversial “great visa” program.

The changes will come into impression July 4.

The shock announcement from Immigration Minister Sean Fraser on Tuesday received right here inside the wake of an ongoing consider by the parliamentary immigration committee of a private member’s bill, C-242, to amend the laws to make these precise changes. It was a bid to ease family reunification for Canadians who’ve mom and father and grandparents abroad.

“The enhancements to the great visa program allow relations to reunite for longer in Canada, which helps regularly Canadian residents and eternal residents succeed and contribute to society, whereas affording their mom and father and grandparents invaluable options to spend time with their family in Canada,” Fraser said.

The committee had already held three conferences and heard from witnesses in response to the Reuniting Households Act, which moreover sought to ask immigration officers to prepare and desk a report on reducing the minimal earnings requirement {{that a}} Canadian sponsor ought to meet to make sure that their mom and father or grandparents to stay proper right here for an extended interval.

The so-called great visa — a multiple-entry buyer visa respectable for 10 years — at current permits the holder to stay proper right here for a most two years at a time. That may now be extended to as a lot as 5 years.

Nevertheless with the intention to get a superb visa, the shopper had needed to be lined by a Canadian medical medical insurance agency, a worth that will fluctuate between $1,800 and $5,000 a yr, counting on the safety, age and properly being conditions of the insured particular person. Insurance coverage protection by worldwide entities are anticipated to be inexpensive.

Great visas are supposed to supply a brief lived discount for people and grandparents who’re unable to win the lottery held by the immigration division yearly to resolve on who could possibly be sponsored as eternal residents by their children or grandchildren in Canada. There are restricted spots for such sponsorship yearly, 20,000 pre-COVID in 2019 and 30,000 ultimate yr.

The changes launched Tuesday will allow the immigration minister to designate worldwide medical insurance coverage protection firms to provide safety to great visa candidates. Particulars of designated suppliers will seemingly be posted on the division site later.

Closing week, a senior immigration division official instructed the parliamentary committee that there have been no need to herald changes to the great visa program.

“Beneath the current great visa, purchasers can request extensions whereas proper right here, which signifies that they already have the possibility to stay for five years and even longer without having to depart Canada,” said Michele Kingsley, a director widespread of the immigration division.

“Allowing worldwide suppliers as proposed by the bill would require consultations with health-sector specialists, along with with provinces and territories to seek out out which requirements should be included in such a designation scheme. Merely put, there are quite a few unknown impacts of broadening medical medical insurance to worldwide suppliers.”

Advocates for Canadians interested in sponsoring mom and father and grandparents have said the changes to great visa are merely “Band-Assist” choices in lieu of an overhaul of the sponsorship course of.

NDP immigration critic Jenny Kwan said the Liberal authorities has had years to cope with the drawbacks with the mom and father and grandparents immigration streams and that Fraser’s “half-measure” announcement is meant to “sideline” Bill C-242.

“Households longing to reunite with their relations have wanted to endure essential obstacles via the years. They ranged from prolonged delays in processing (usually as long as 10 years) to being subjected to a lottery scheme the place, truly, reunification is based on the luck of the draw,” Kwan instructed the Star.

“What is definitely needed is for the Liberal authorities to raise the obstacles for the mom and father and grandparents’ reunification stream as quickly as and for all.”

Nicholas Keung is a Toronto-based reporter defending immigration for the Star. Adjust to him on Twitter: @nkeung


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