Many couples and families have been forced to live apart during the COVID pandemic. Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has promised faster processing of Spousal Sponsorship applications. On September 24, IRCC committed to accelerating, prioritizing and finalizing approximately 6,000 spousal applications per month from October through December 2020. When added to the year-to-date Spousal Sponsorships applications process, this rate will lead to about 49,000 decisions by the end of this year.
In announcing the new initiative, The Honourable Marco E. L. Mendicino, Minister of IRCC, discussed new strategies to increase processing times plus committed to a 66% increase in the number of staff processing spousal applications with the goal to process them more quickly and to reduce couples’ wait times:
IRCC is leveraging new technology in a pilot to digitize paper applications so they can be processed more efficiently by IRCC employees working remotely and at various worksites. In addition to implementing facilitative biometrics measures, IRCC will be piloting, in the upcoming weeks, technology to conduct interviews with applicants remotely, in adherence with public health protocols.
Helping Families Build Their Lives Together In Canada
Global COVID pandemic restrictions resulted in a March 2020 closing of Canada's borders to all but essential workers to slow the spread of the disease, as well as reducing the number of IRCC staff who were available to process immigration applications. IRCC has remained open throughout the pandemic but has processed applications at a much slower rate. The result was that immediate family members of Canadian citizens were not able to cross borders into Canada.
Beginning June 8, 2020, IRCC began processing applications for immediate family members of Canadian citizens and permanent residents so they could enter Canada temporarily with an immediate family member for a period of at least 15 days. IRCC defines an immediate family member as:
- spouses or common-law partners
- dependent children or grandchildren
- parents or step-parents
- guardians or tutors
“We understand that the last few months have not been easy for those who are far from their loved ones in these difficult times. This is why we are accelerating the approval of spousal applications as much as possible. Our government will continue to find new ways to keep families together.”
– The Honourable Marco E. L. Mendicino, P.C., M.P., Minister of IRCC
Start Your Spousal Sponsorship Application Now
The Family Class Application (Spousal Sponsorship path) is a way for a permanent resident or citizen of Canada to sponsor their spouse or common-law partner (including same-sex partner), parents, grandparents and dependent children to immigrate to Canada.
Canada immigration lawyer Evelyn Ackah has advice for couples who have not yet applied to start their Spousal Sponsorship application:
Beat the backlog! Start your Spousal sponsorship application as soon as possible to beat the immigration backlog that will happen when IRCC returns to full operations. Wait times on immigration applications are long enough now - but they're only going to get longer! This new initiative to process applications that have been caught in the pandemic paperwork is a good start, but there are many many applications for businesses and individuals who are caught in the backlog.
Spousal sponsorship applications can be confusing. At Ackah Law, we advise that you consult an immigration lawyer who has experience in Family Class Spousal Sponsorship applications so that you don't waste time or money - or risk having your immigration application rejected.
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A Spousal Sponsorship application has a greater chance for success with the help of a knowledgeable and experienced immigration professional. They can help you to understand any points of confusion or overcome any issues that may pose a challenge to the application process. Contact Ackah Business Immigration Law today at (587) 324-2232 Ext. 100 or 1-800-932-1190 or email us directly.