MARCO E. L. Mendicino, federal Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, on Thursday announced the speeding up of spousal application processing.
He said: “We understand that the last few months have not been easy for those who are far from their loved ones in these difficult times. This is why we are accelerating the approval of spousal applications as much as possible. Our government will continue to find new ways to keep families together.”
Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has increased the number of decision makers on spousal applications in Canada by 66% to process spousal applications more quickly and reduce couples’ wait times.
IRCC is leveraging new technology in a pilot to digitize paper applications so they can be processed more efficiently by IRCC employees working remotely and at various worksites. In addition to implementing facilitative biometrics measures, IRCC will be piloting, in the upcoming weeks, technology to conduct interviews with applicants remotely, in adherence with public health protocols.
With these initiatives, IRCC aims to accelerate, prioritize and finalize approximately 6,000 spousal applications each month from October until December. Combined with processing to date, this rate will lead to about 49,000 decisions by the end of this year.
Mendicino said that COVID-19 has created uncertainty for Canadians who are sponsoring spouses for permanent residence, adding that IRCC will continue to search for innovative and compassionate ways to reunite families, while following the advice of the public health experts to protect the health and safety of Canadians.