Canada reduces wait time for immigrants’ spouses

Canadian Immigration News

The Canadian government has reduced the wait times for spouses of immigrants wanting to reunite with their husbands/wives in Canada. A lot of progress has already been reported on that front, with many backlog applications being cleared.

IRCC (Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada) was quoted by CBC News as saying that currently, the average waiting time is one year for around 80 percent of cases, a reduction from the earlier two-year wait time.

It is said that immigration officials had cleared a huge backlog of files, reducing their numbers from about 75,000 files to around 15,000 in just over a year.

Ahmed Hussen, Immigration Minister, said that they wanted to ensure families were not needlessly kept away from each other, and for their government, family reunification was an important priority. He said that was the reason why spousal sponsorship was important to them and will continue to be so for their immigration system.

Hussen said they managed to achieve results by putting in place a staff of ‘tiger time’ to deal with the backlog, and by easing the application process to prevent delays.

He said no shortcuts were resorted to by the government on the stringent screening process, despite the fact that most claims were from ‘bona fide’ couples.

Hussen said the decision to announce this proposal in the presence of couples who benefitted from faster processing times — that too on Valentine’s Day — was done to demonstrate how real lives were affected by immigration policies.

John McCallum, the former immigration minister, had announced in December 2016 the plan to hasten spousal sponsorship processing. During the same time, the guide of family reunification was reduced to a 75-page document from the earlier 180 pages, and to incorporate simple language, the application form was rewritten.

Hussen said, at a news conference, hastening the benefits assists society overall. He said that their objective was to let new migrants integrate seamlessly into their new communities, and hastening family reunification was helping them to do just that.

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