Canadian Government to Address Spousal Sponsorship Backlog and Wait Times

Posted on Categories Spouse Visa

Ottawa, June 13, 2016 – As part of its commitment to family reunification, the Government of Canada will grant permanent residence to more spouses, partners and dependent children of Canadian citizens and permanent residents this year, check the petition sibling permanent resident as an example. This will significantly reduce the backlog of existing applications and speed up processing times going forward.

Each year, the Government sets how many permanent residents Canada intends to admit through its various immigration categories during the year. This is done with the annual immigration levels plan. The plan for 2016 reflects the Government’s key priorities for immigration, which include bringing more families together.

This year, the Government increased the number of spaces allowed for spouses, partners and dependent children by 14 000, bringing it up to 62 000 spaces.

Over the past few years, more people have applied to come to Canada in the spousal sponsorship category than there was space for in previous immigration levels plans; this has created a backlog. This year, the Government will reduce this backlog.

Tackling the spousal sponsorship 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 Canadian communities and our economy.

Increasing the number of admission spaces for spouses and partners is one of the measures the Government has taken to support family reunification. Through Budget 2016, $25 million was also allocated to support faster and more predictable processing times for family sponsorship.

What this means for applicants

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has begun to work on reducing its current spousal sponsorship backlog.

Reducing the backlog means complete and straightforward spousal sponsorship applications will be finalised faster than current processing times which can stretch up to 24 months.

It is worth noting that many files are returned to applicant’s due to errors and omissions on application forms or failure to provide mandatory evidence in the format required. This not only wastes valuable time but results in forfeiture of expensive Canadian Government Processing Fees. When a file is corrected and re-submitted it will once again take its place at the back of the queue. 

The backlog reduction applies to applications received through the family class (overseas processing) as well as the spouse or common-law partner in Canada class (in-Canada processing).

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. One of the key tests in Canadian spouse sponsorship cases is convincing a visa officer that your marriage was not entered into merely to secure entry into Canada and is not a marriage of convenience.

Given that Canada grants permanent residence straight off the bat in contrast to countries such as the UK, means that Canada has become an attractive proposition for those contemplating entering marriages of convenience.  


About the Author

Harjit Grewal was born and educated in the United Kingdom where he obtained his LLB (Bachelor of Law) and LLM (Master of Law). He practiced British immigration law for seven years with the respected Immigration Advisory Service as a member of the Law Society of England & Wales and the Office for the Immigration Services Commissioner (OISC). After moving to Canada he secured the prestigious ICCRC designation to provide authorized Canadian visa and immigration services.

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