It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s (not so) Super Visa!

Last month, CIC shut down the parents & grandparents permanent residence category. So if you want your parent or grandparent to come to Canada, you have to wait two years to apply to sponsor them. Until CIC shut it down it was taking up to 8 years to process those applications. That was a long time to wait. In some cases, it was what remained of a lifetime.

But as a consolation, CIC announced a new “Super Visa” category for parents and grandparents. Catchy name. Sort of. But what is it?

 If your parent or grandparent is from a non-visa exempt country, they can apply for a ten-year multi-entry Super Visa. Non visa-exempt countries are mostly poorer, in the global south or with a majority racialized population (see http://ccrweb.ca/en/res/visitor-visas-parents-and-grandparents).

 All the other regular criteria still apply: security, criminal and medical checks; promise to leave Canada at the end of your stay and maintain your ties abroad. You also have to show you have sufficient funds for your visit.

 But that’s not all. For the Super Visa, you must:

 

–                          Show proof of Canadian private medical insurance valid for at least one year; and

–                          Show proof that the “host” in Canada has sufficient household income to support all family members.

 You might be saying: “Good, we don’t want these people becoming a burden on our health care system. At least they can come for a longer visit. Canada cannot afford to provide health care for visitors.”

Listen: Canada never has – and never will – provide free health care to visitors. Until now, visitors either pay out-of-pocket for private insurance or out-of-pocket for health care. Sometimes both.

 But CIC doesn’t demand every visitor have private health coverage. Thousands of visitors come to Canada every year with no private health insurance at all. The health insurance requirement means wealthier Canadian families and people from wealthier countries will benefit most from the Super Visa. They can afford private health insurance at a cost of $250-$1000/month.

On the other hand, poorer Canadian families and people from poorer countries will suffer. Maybe that’s not a big surprise. But when you think about it, it’s often the poorer Canadian families who need a parent’s help, for example for childcare. 

I don’t want to be totally negative about this. Having a 10-year multi-entry visa is a good thing. It avoids the rigmarole of extending your stay every six months and having to do the “Buffalo shuffle” once a year for a new visa.  But did CIC really need to shut down an entire category and create a new one to accomplish something as simple as a 10-year multi-entry permit? Come on.

Similarly, did CIC really need spend 450 Million Dollars revamping the entire refugee system when the major problem was processing delays? 450 Million Dollars could go a long way towards hiring a few new judges to clear the backlog. It’s a pattern of massive, expensive changes with little net gain for Canadians or their families abroad. And in the case of the Super Visa, the new program unfairly discriminates against poorer families.

Super Visa. Wow. Super.

Link to the CIC bulletin:

http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/resources/manuals/bulletins/2011/ob357.asp