November 7, 2018 – Canada’s federal government may be focused on boosting economic immigration levels, but that has not stopped the growth of the Family Class in the last three years.
Between 2015 and 2017, the number of newcomers coming through the Family Class has increased by 26 per cent, from 65,485 to 82,470.
The numbers are expected to grow further over the next three years, with the recently-announced immigration levels plan targeting 91,000 Family Class immigrants per year by 2021.
Two important changes that affected the Family Class were made in 2017.
Firstly, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada raised the age of a dependent child to 21.
This meant more children could be included on immigration applications.
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Secondly, the IRCC repealed conditional permanent residence. Previously, spouses and partners were required to live with their sponsors for two years to maintain their permanent residence status.
IRCC says that as of December 31, 2017, 80 per cent of spousal sponsorship applications were being processed in 12 months.
In 2017, spouses, partners and children represented 61,646 out of the 82,470 newcomers in the Family Class, or 75 per cent.
Parents and Grandparents Sponsorship, accounting for 20,494 newcomers in 2017, has also undergone significant changes, with more planned for 2019.
A controversial lottery-style system for selecting candidates is to be discontinued in favour of a first-come, first-served process.
When the interest to sponsor application window opens in January 2019, the first 20,000 to submit their forms will be invited to submit full applications.
Previously, sponsors were selected at random from all of those submitting forms during the month-long window.
Between 2011 and 2017, IRCC reduced the application inventory for parents and grandparents by over 80 per cent.
Meanwhile, the Parent and Grandparent Super Visa has also proven popular, with 17,248 approved in 2017. The visa allows parents and grandparents of Canadian citizens or permanent residents to stay in Canada for up to two consecutive years.
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