Canadian Super Visa Program: Is It a Boon or a Bane for Aspiring Visitors?

The recently launched Canadian super visa has generated much excitement among both the immigrant community and the political class, and heated debates have already started among its supporters and critics. On one hand the Conservative government is calling it as a game changer, where on the other hand the Liberals have denounced it as a body blow to the multicultural ethos of Canada. Let us look at the arguments put by both sides and see whether it helps visa aspirants or hurts them. But, before we do that, we have to understand the background behind this whole controversy.

As one might be aware, that until now, any person holding permanent residency status or citizenship of Canada could sponsor his parents or grandparents to come to Canada and become permanent residents. This was known as the family class visa. This program went off smoothly till recent years when, the number of applications under this scheme jumped exponentially. As a result of which, visa offices around the world started struggling to process them. So much so that, recent estimates suggested a back log of over 1, 65,000 applications worldwide and a processing time of roughly seven to eight years!, making it almost redundant. Under heavy criticism from all quarters, the Canadian government started looking for solutions which would streamline the family reunification process. And, the answer it came up with is the new super visa program.

What the super visa entails is that, as long as you qualify as a visitor under the usual requirements, and you are a parent or grandparent of a Canadian permanent resident or citizen, you can be issued a visitor visa which is valid for ten years and has to be reviewed every two years. The upside to this is that the government has stated that the processing time for visa applications under this category will be as quick as eight weeks. The downside is that you must have a minimum of $ 1, 00,000 worth of medical insurance, bought from a Canadian insurance company and is valid for one year, and you cannot work during your stay in Canada. Furthermore, the government will be suspending for the next two years, sponsorship of parents and grandparents under the earlier family class visa scheme.

This has immigration supporters, particularly the liberals, up in arms. Pointing out to the exorbitant insurance costs, work limitations and suspension of family class visa scheme, they accuse the government of using the super visa as a ploy to discourage immigration into Canada, especially for parents and grandparents. On the other hand, the Conservatives dismiss these accusations on the grounds that the family class visa was hardly workable anymore. They also point out, that insurance costs, for the elderly are any ways high and having this private medical insurance will make sure that the Canadian healthcare system will not be burdened any further, all the while ensuring parents are able to travel to Canada and be with their families, a facility denied by the long waiting time of the previous scheme.

The jury is still out as both sides have fairly strong points and counter points. This has left the average visa aspirant under this scheme confused and understandably so, as the visa scheme is still in its infancy and details are sketchy. The consensus among immigration experts is that those who can easily afford the insurance and meet other requirements, should go ahead and apply under this scheme while others should wait out a little more, as insurance cost is expected to come down in future due to increase in business under super visa insurance scheme and the resulting competition among insurance companies to make good use of this new lucrative business opportunity.

To conclude, one can only say that visa aspirants should keep a close eye on this scheme, as even if it does not suit everyone currently, those who stand to benefit, must explore this exciting new opportunity to travel to Canada and be with their close ones.

The author currently works for an immigration consultancy firm. To know more about the Canadian super visa scheme and its insurance requirements visit the author’s website at http://www.canadasupervisainsurance.com