The federal government has made reducing the backlog and bringing down wait times for family sponsorship applications one of its immigration priorities for 2016.
With an extra 14,000 places allocated for bringing in spouses, partners and dependent children of citizens and permanent residents, Justin Trudeau’s Liberals say they will ‘significantly reduce the backlog of existing applications and speed up processing times going forward’.
Previously, numbers of applications for family sponsorship have exceeded the available spots, leaving some cases stuck for months and years in the approval pile.
But with Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada pushing a family reunification agenda, they will spend $25 million on making sure those that qualify are admitted in a timely manner.
“Tackling the spousal backlog will ease the uncertainty faced by spouses and partners wanting to move forward and build their lives in Canada with their family and help them integrate into our communities and our economy,” the IRCC press release said.
Family sponsorship involves a two-step process, first assessing the sponsor and then the applicant, although all documents can be submitted at the same time.
To sponsor a family member:
- You must be 18 or older.
- You and the sponsored relative must sign a sponsorship agreement that commits you to provide financial support for your relative, if necessary. This agreement also says the person becoming a permanent resident will make every effort to support her or himself.
- You must provide financial support for a spouse, common-law or conjugal partner for three years from the date they become a permanent resident.
- You must provide financial support for a dependent child for 10 years, or until the child turns 25, whichever comes first.
The assessment of the sponsor focuses on whether they have the means to support the applicant, for three years in the case of a spouse or partner, and 10 years in the case of a dependent child.
In the case of spouse or partner sponsorship, the sponsor must also prove the relationship is genuine.
Parents and grandparents can also be sponsored, as well as any relative provided specific conditions are met.
Once the sponsor is approved, the applicant is then assessed, needing to submit to criminal record checks from all recent places of residence and undergo a medical, among other requirements.
The IRCC said that although the aim was to reduce processing times, the proper checks would still be made.
“Reducing the backlog means complete and straightforward spousal sponsorship applications will be finalized faster,” the IRCC said.
“All applications will continue to undergo the necessary screening to ensure that individuals do not pose a health, safety or security risk to Canadians and that the relationships are genuine.”
The extra 14,000 places means there are 62,000 available for souse, partner and child sponsorship in 2016, plus a further 20,000 for parents and grandparents.
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