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HomeFamily newsHow Canada has progressed its commitment to family reunification to 2023

How Canada has progressed its commitment to family reunification to 2023


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Published on June 19, 2023 at 9 a.m. EDT

Reunifying families is a cornerstone of Canada’s immigration strategy.

A report released by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) on November 29 last year said the department would seek to fulfill the Prime Minister’s mandate to reunite families by implementing a program to issue temporary resident status (TRV) to spouses and children abroad while they await the processing of their permanent residence application, to reunify families sooner.

On May 26, Immigration Minister Sean Fraser announced several new measures to speed up family reunification. The new measures include:

  • Faster processing times for temporary residence permit (TRV) for spouse applicants
  • New and dedicated processing tools for partner TRV applicants
  • A new open work permit for applicants in the spouse and family class
  • Extension of open work permit for holders of open work permit expiring between August 1 and the end of 2023

Sponsor your family for Canadian immigration

The new processing tools enable IRCC to streamline application processing for non-complex applications. Minister Fraser said so technology adopted by IRCC in recent years has allowed the Department to check information on a person’s application to help determine the likelihood that they will be eligible for permanent residency and place them in a category that is more easily approved by IRCC officials. This includes family sponsorship applicants, and the approach has an approval rate of more than 98% for spouses and their children’s TRV applications.

The minister said the backlog of TRV (visitor) visas for spouses of applicants who have already applied for permanent resident status has been eliminated. In addition, most of these types of applications in the future will have a service standard of 30 days and applicants will benefit from processing measures specific to their circumstances as spouses and dependents.

Additionally, on June 7, open work permit holders whose current permit expires between August 1 and the end of 2023 became eligible to extend their permit by 18 months. This is expected to affect around 25,000 people and includes spouses and dependents of most temporary workersspouses international students and permanent resident applicants and their spouses/dependents who are waiting for permanent residency to be finalized.

Open work permits for TFWP and IMP

On January 30 this year, open work permits became temporarily available for spouses of participants in temporary foreign worker program and international mobility program.

The measure will last until 2025. IRCC says that by temporarily issuing work permits to TFWs’ spouses, dependents and partners, some of the stress can be taken off workers by improving financial stability and making it easier for families to stay together and integrate into their communities.

The measure also covers children of working age, 16 years and older, of principal applicants at all skill levels. IRCC estimates that this program will enable the families of more than 200,000 foreign workers to enter Canada’s workforce, helping to reduce the national labor shortage and strengthen the economy.

Sponsor a spouse, partner or child for immigration to Canada

Family class immigration is the second most popular method of immigrating to Canada after economy class immigration.

During Immigration Levels Plan 2023-2025, Canada will welcome 118,000 permanent residents per year through family class sponsorship by the end of 2025. This includes spouses, partners, dependent children as well as parents and grandparents.

To be eligible to sponsor a family member, the sponsor must be:

  • a Canadian citizen or permanent resident of Canada
  • 18 years or older
  • be able to support the sponsored person for several years

The amount of support required varies depending on how many people are sponsored. Further sponsors must sign a financial commitment which makes them legally responsible for supporting their family members for years. This includes spouses and partners even if the relationship breaks up.

Sponsor your family for Canadian immigration

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