Some good news came from IRCC recently with Canada’s immigration Minister Mr. McCallum revealing that the wait times for the spousal/common-law partner categories of Family Class immigration programs are to be reduced to 12 months, down from the current average of 2 years. They hope to bring the processing times even more in the near future. This announcement will most definitely be happy news to many Canadian sponsors and their spouses who are already awaiting or have plans to apply soon.
The system will be based on first-in, first-out principle and should result in those who already applied receiving the decision faster than those who have applied later on. According to Mr. McCallum the new processing times apply to those who have already submitted their applications and those who are planning to apply.
As of last year, the average wait time for spouses/common-law partners of Canadian citizens and permanent residents in Canada stood at 26 months and those who have applied outside of Canada had to wait on an average for at least 18 months. The new target applies to both applicants, outside and inside of Canada.
“The proposition I guarantee is that the time is now 12 months, down from 24,” said Minister McCallum. He claims that the new Government has listened to the concerns of Canadians and is eager to bring on permanent changes by implementing a more considerate and efficient way to reunite families. “Canadians who marry someone from abroad shouldn’t have to wait for years to have them immigrate or be left with uncertainty in terms of their ability to stay,” claimed the federal Immigration Minister.
The plan is to welcome 64,000 new permanent residents, in 2017 as the spouses, common-law partners, or dependent children of Canadian citizens or permanent residents. According to McCallum, people are much more productive when they are close to their families and that could be beneficial to all Canadians in general, not just the people who sponsor.
Three contributory factors were outlined, which will make the process faster and smoother without compromising the necessary security, criminality and medical screening of the sponsored. First, $25 million was received as additional funding for the department, which allows to hire more staff and train them efficiently. As well, the current inventory of applications received keeps being reduced and IRCC will be drawing on past experience and resources to improve the service. These past experiences include the somewhat effortless process of bringing over 30,000 Syrian refugees to Canada in just a few months. Lessons learned from that experience can greatly help with the country’s overall immigration strategy. A few other elements will assist the IRCC employees and applicants, as well in cutting down processing and wait times and revamp the process. For instance, documents such as police background checks and medicals will be required to be submitted later in the process, rather than in the beginning. In addition, they will be required to fill less evaluation forms and will have a shorter, more compressed program guide.
IRCC has also confirmed that a program which allows spouses and common-law partners of Canadian citizens and permanent residents in Canada to work while they await permanent residence status is now extended until December of 2017. After January 3, 2017 IRCC will start receiving only the new application kit, so old ones should not be used anymore. For more information visit the CIC news and remember to insure your spouse or common law partner while they await their provincial coverage.