Super visa only for those who can afford it
By Nicholas Keung
January 18, 2012
Felix Zhang was thrilled when Ottawa launched a “super visa” last month to allow parents and grandparents of newcomers to visit Canada and stay here for up to two years.
But the pricetag for the mandatory health insurance required under the program is a huge obstacle for the Zhangs and many other immigrant families. The private insurance typically costs $2,000 to $4,000 depending on which company is writing the policy and the age and medical history of the insured.
For Zhang, a Toronto IT manager, said those premiums are beyond the reach of even middle-class immigrants like him.
“My parents are in good health and don’t need that. I am more than willing to pay for their health insurance in Canada, but not for something unnecessary,” said Zhang, co-founder of Sponsor Our Parents, a self-advocacy group. “This is so expensive that only the rich need to apply.”
At the same time, Ottawa has stopped accepting new sponsorships for permanent residence until 2014, hoping to cut the current backlog of 165,000 parents and grandparents by half.
And the department is trying to whittle down the list in other ways. Just this month, all sponsors in the backlog were told they had only 90 days to provide personal information and documentation of the sponsored applicants – materials not usually required until later in the process.
“They have asked for a lot of information and materials such as birth certificates. Some parents were born long time ago and don’t have birth certificates. They may not be able to get it on time,” said Zhang.
Article posted in Asian community, Communities, Family reunification/Sponsorship, Immigration, Reports/Statistics/Opinions, etc.