Super Visas Get Even More Super

by Ronalee Carey Law

June 2022

IRCC has announced changes to the super visa program. As of July 4th, super visa holders will be allowed to stay in Canada for up to five years and will be able to request an additional extension of a further two years. In addition, medical insurance may become cheaper as IRCC will designate non-Canadian companies from which insurance can be purchased.

The announcement does not specify the duration of medical insurance that will be required. Currently, proof of insurance need only be provided for a year, despite the super visa being valid for a two-year stay in Canada. Individuals who fail to renew their policy may leave Canadian hospitals with unrecoverable bills, should the individual or their child/grandchild be unable to pay the bill.

Processing times are a significant impediment to the program, though they vary widely depending on the country of citizenship. Here are a few of the processing times listed on the IRCC website:

            USA - 449 days

            India - 146 days

            Haiti - 66 days

I’ve always seen the super visa program as a ‘bait and switch’. IRCC will never be able to offer enough spots in its Parent and Grandparent Program to meet demand, and the super visa program is billed as an alternative. Increasing the time parents and grandparents can spend in Canada only creates a longer forestalling of the inevitable; eventually, the parent/grandparent will have to leave Canada. The super visa program only requires the child/grandchild to earn the low-income cut-off. To sponsor a parent or grandparent, you must earn 30% above the low-income cut-off. As a result, many children/grandchildren will never qualify to sponsor their parents/grandparents. Those eligible must be selected in the ‘lottery’ to be able to sponsor. Only a precious few can apply for permanent residency.

By the end of a seven-year ‘visit’ to Canada, many parents/grandparents will no longer have a residence in their country of origin, will have few close friendships, and generally will have established themselves in Canada. Therefore, I foresee many more applications for permanent residence based on humanitarian and compassionate considerations.

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