People who have moved to Canada without their spouses and Canadians marrying someone from overseas will be able to be reunited with their spouses faster.
The Canadian Government has announced changes that will make it faster and easier for Canadians and permanent residents to reunite with their families.
Immigration Minister John McCallum called on Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) to make a concerted effort to reduce processing times. He has confirmed that since the start of 2016 processing times have been reduced by 15% from within Canada and just over 10% for applications outside Canada.
Now he has announced that with immediate effect processing times will be reduced even further, with most spousal applications now being processed in 12 months. But he pointed out that complex cases may require more time.
Also, applicants who already filed an application will not have to wait an additional 12 months to have them finalised and IRCC will continue to process applications in the order they have been received.
McCallum explained that most families who have been waiting should have a decision on their sponsorship application no later than the end of December 2017 and the new changes are expected to benefit more than 64,000 applicants by the end of 2017, and are the latest measures to bring families together.
‘We have listened to Canadians and are delivering results. Bringing families together 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 Minister said.
‘What we’re announcing is a more efficient, more considerate process to reunite families,’ he added.
The changes mean that there is now one application package for all spousal sponsorship applicants and all applicants, both in Canada and overseas, can now use the same application package and checklists.
There is also a new basic guide that applicants can use to prepare their application along with a personalized document checklist to find out which forms and documents are needed.
The process has a new, simplified relationship questionnaire which is easier to understand and has fewer questions and applicants no longer need to submit medical examinations up front with an application. Instructions will be sent to the applicant when a medical examination is needed.
Applicants need to provide only the police certificates from the country where they currently live or the country where they have spent most of their adult life since the age of 18 if different from the country where they live.