Immigration Canada has worked hard to play Cupid in the past year by reuniting Canadians with their significant others abroad.
To celebrate Valentine’s Day, Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen hosted a news conference at a Mississauga dessert shop to update his department’s dramatic reduction of the spousal sponsorship backlog.
According to Hussen, the number of spousal immigration applications in the queue has dropped to 15,000 from 74,900 a year ago, and the average processing time has also been sharply reduced to 12 months from 26 months.
“The Government of Canada is committed to family reunification. We understand how important it is to reunite couples. It also makes for a stronger Canada,” said Hussen.
“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.”
The minister attributed the success to a focused working group, dubbed the “Family Class Tiger Team,” that was created in spring 2016 to develop innovative mechanisms and redesign application kits and workflow to reduce processing times.
The special team reviewed spouse and partner related forms, guides, websites, tools and processes in order to improve the client experience and achieve faster processing times for most applicants. The team wrapped up in December 2016.
Since then, the Immigration Department’s spousal application package has been revised. At the time Hussen’s predecessor, John McCallum, announced the government intended to reduce the backlog of spousal sponsorship cases by 80 per cent and shorten processing times to 12 months.
On Wednesday, the department said the process will be streamlined further next month.