THE federal government on Wednesday claimed that it has made significant improvements to the spousal sponsorship process, making it faster and easier for Canadians and permanent residents to reunite with their spouses.
In December 2016, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) announced that it would reduce the backlog of spousal applicants by 80% and shorten processing times to 12 months. It also announced improvements to the spousal sponsorship application process to make it more efficient and easier to navigate.
Ahmed Hussen, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, announced on Wednesday that the government has successfully met these commitments:
· More than 80% of those who were in the global spousal sponsorship backlog on December 7, 2016, have now received final decisions for their applications. The spousal inventory has been reduced from 75,000 applications to 15,000 as of December 31, 2017.
· As of December 31, 2017, the government met its commitment to process 80% of spousal applications that were received in December 2016.
In addition, after introducing a new spousal sponsorship application package in December 2016, IRCC said it continued to respond to client and stakeholder feedback to further improve the application process, and make it simpler and easier for sponsors and applicants to understand and navigate. As a result, it made a number of improvements to the application package in June 2017. And on Wednesday, it introduced further updates to the application kit and process to improve the client experience and make sure it can process applications as quickly as possible.
Hussen said: “The Government of Canada is committed to family reunification. We understand how important it is to reunite couples. It also makes for a stronger Canada. 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.”
The IRCC plans to welcome 66,000 spouses and dependants in 2018, well above the average over the past decade of about 47,000.