On December 7, the Hon. John McCallum, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, announced significant changes to the spousal sponsorship process:
Starting from December 2016, most spousal sponsorships inside and outside Canada will now be processed in 12 months.
IRCC plans to admit 64,000 spouses and dependents in 2017, this is increased from the average of 47,000 over the last decade.
The application kit for new sponsors has been redesigned and made easier to understand. It will be available online from December 15, 2016. Applicants will no longer have to choose between two different kits depending on whether they live in Canada or outside Canada.
Medical, criminality, and security screening can now be done after applying.
The targets in this announcement represent a significant reduction in processing times, particularly for those applying within Canada. Currently, applications submitted before December 7, 2016, have a 26 month processing time.
For spousal applicants who have started filling out their application using the current kit, IRCC will continue to accept new applications using the current kit until January 31, 2017. After this date, only applications using the new kit will be accepted. IRCC strongly encourages applicants to begin using the new kit, which is easier to use and understand, as soon as it is available online on December 15, 2016.
It is important for applicants and their sponsors to complete all the necessary forms correctly, and to provide all necessary supporting documents, in order to avoid any delays in the processing of applications.
Contact our lawyers to schedule a consultation to assist you with your spousal sponsorship or other immigration matter.