Canada's immigration department has launched the next phase of the government's plan to eliminate backlogs in the Parent and Grandparent programme which allows family members to visit more quickly and conveniently.

Earlier this year the government reopened the PGP programme to accept 5,000 new applications and that intake is now full. Immigration Minister Chris Alexander said that it will not be paused until next year so that the new applicants can be processed.


He said that the department now needs to devote its energy to reuniting more families and by the end of 2014 it is predicted that an extra 20,000 parents and grandparents will be granted visas, marking a substantial reduction in wait times for all applicants.

'The government has a strong track record of reuniting families and loved ones and has taken action to ensure backlogs are reduced and processing times are improved. Since the Action Plan for Faster Family Reunification was launched in 2011, the government has cut the backlog in half and the department anticipates cutting the backlog by 75% by the end of 2015,' he explained.

He also pointed out that Canada continues to have the most generous family reunification programme in the developed world. With the Super Visa, parents and grandparents can visit their families in Canada more quickly and conveniently.

He added that to date, more than 28,000 Super Visas have been issued and almost 98% of Super Visa applicants who met the requirements were approved. The PGP programme will re-open to new applications in January 2015 and further details will be available closer to that date.

Overall, including spouses and dependants, the 5,000 PGP applications will represent about 9,000 individuals. Under the programme eligible sponsors can bring their parent or grandparent to Canada temporarily under the Super Visa, which is a multiple entry visa, valid for up to 10 years, that allows a parent or grandparent to stay in Canada for up to 24 months at a time without having to renew their status.

'Our government understands the importance of spending time with family and loved ones and we committed to improving the immigration system so that families can be reunited more quickly,' said Alexander.

'Canada has the most generous family reunification programme in the developed world. Complementing this programme, the new Super Visa remains a convenient option with a high approval rate for those who wish to visit their families in Canada for up to two years at a time,' he added.