Did you know that in 2015 almost 70,000 couples applied for spousal sponsorship in Canada? Sadly, there were 48,000 spots allotted, so this led to huge wait times and a lot of frustrated couples left in limbo. But the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) is looking to keep this from ever happening again.
Last year in 2016, processing wait times for spousal sponsorship was an average of about 22 months for in-Canada applications, and 16 months for outside of Canada. These are better than the 27 and 18 averages from 2014, but The Government of Canada is committed to bringing down these processing times to 12 months.
How will they do it?
First of all, they will open the number of spaces available in the immigration plan. They will be allowing 12 000 more spouses, partners and dependent children to be admitted to Canada, which means more people will be approved.
“I have always felt it was wrong for the heavy hand of the Canadian state to keep people apart for two years,” said Federal Immigration Minister John McCallum, in an interview with The Canadian Press.
He added, “People are more productive citizens when they are with their families, when they are at ease in their home life, so I think it is good for the country as a whole.”
Progress takes money and the Government is backing its 12-month promise with $25 million in funding, allocated to IRCC to direct and focus resources to help significantly reduce the backlog and processing times.
This money will go to desperately needed resources, as there is a current backlog of about 80,000 applications in the system.
Improving the Application Process for Clients
They have also released a single application kit you can download online to replace the 2 different in-Canada and overseas applicants formerly had to use.
The new process also includes:
- A 75-page guide, to replace the denser 180-page guide
- One single checklist, to replace the 14 checklists used in the past
- One relationship and sponsorship form, to replace the 3 former questionnaires and 1 application form.
- A provision that allows you to submit police and medical documentation later in the process, instead of up-front
Applying correctly the first time is still the best way to reduce your wait times. So be sure to work with an immigration firm that stays on top of all changes to the application process, and has a history of helping to reunite families.
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