(Image: IRCC)

The Canadian government has promised that it values family reunification – and it hasn’t let us down. Major improvements to the sponsorship program means significant cuts to the backlog and wait time for spousal sponsors.

Over the past year, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) fulfilled its promise to reduce the backlog of spousal applicants by 80% and shorten processing times to 12 months.

The 75,000 applicants that had been waiting on backlog in the spousal inventory in December, 2016 has been reduced to 15,000 applicants in December, 2017.

“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, ” says Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen.

(Image: IRCC)

Moving forward, IRCC plans to welcome 66,000 spouses and dependants in 2018, well above the average over the past decade of about 47,000.

As well, small adjustments have been made to the application kit to help processing proceed as quickly as possible. Notably, spousal applicants will now be asked to submit their Schedule A – Background/Declaration (IMM 5669) form and police certificates as part of their initial paper application package, instead of later in the application process, as was previously required.

For more information on sponsorship application and the recent changes, read here.