*Photo taken pre-COVID-19
On September 24th, 2020, Minister of Immigration Marco Mendicino announced action to speed up spousal application processing and help families build their lives together in Canada. Anita has heard from many constituents about the uncertainty and difficulty of having their spouses' arrival in Canada put on hold due to COVID-19, and spoke with the Minister about the need for additional resources so families can be united as soon as possible.
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 2020. Combined with processing to date, this rate will lead to about 49,000 decisions by the end of this year.
COVID-19 has created uncertainty for Canadians who are sponsoring spouses for permanent residence. We will continue to search for innovative and compassionate ways to reunite families, while following the advice of our public health experts to protect the health and safety of Canadians.