Spouses are being re-united more quickly in Canada as improvements to the immigration system have led to shorter processing visa times.

The improvements also mean that a backlog has been reduced, according to officials from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).

Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen said the aim has been to reduce the backlog of applications by 80% and shorten processing times to 12 months.

The aim has been to make it faster and easier for Canadians and permanent residents to reunite with their spouses. Improvements to the application process means that the whole system is also easier to navigate and more efficient.

The backlog from 2016 has been reduced beyond the 80% target, down from 75,000 to just 15,000 as of the end of December 2017.

Hussen explained that in addition, after introducing a new spousal sponsorship application package in December 2016, IRCC 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, we made a number of improvements to the application package in June 2017. And today, we introduced further updates to the application kit and process to improve the client experience and make sure we can process applications as quickly as possible,’ he 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,’ he added.

To bring families together, IRCC plans to welcome 66,000 spouses and dependants in 2018, well above the average over the past decade of about 47,000.