Changes to Spousal and Common-law Partner Sponsorship Application Process



Processing Times Changes to Spousal and Common-Law Partner Sponsorship

For Canadian citizens and permanent residents who wish to sponsor their spouse or common-law partner, it can now be done easier with the new changes that have been made. Immigration Canada has introduced certain changes to spousal and common-law partner sponsorship as of late 2016. It was announced that the processing times for spousal and/or common law partner categories through Family Class immigration programs are being reduced to 12 months (1 year) instead of the current average of 24 months (2 years). Immigration Canada has enthusiastic goals for the processing times of applications in general; however, specifically for spousal and/or common law partner categories, they wish to reduce the processing time to as low as 6 months. In this article, I will explain what the changes entail and what this means for prospect Canadians applying through a spousal or common-law partner sponsorship application.

How do the Processing Times Affect my Application

First and foremost, the processing times for applications are currently listed as 26 months, which is just over 2 years, for spouses or common-law partners of Canadian citizens and permanent residents. For spouses and common-law partners who are living outside of Canada, the processing times are currently listed as 18 months, which is just over 1 year. Ultimately, the goal for Canadian Immigration is to apply this new processing time of 12 months, which is 1 year, for all applicants that are either inside or outside of Canada. This creates consistency within the application processing times.

Additionally, the new processing time targets will now apply to applicants who have already submitted their spousal or common-law partner applications as well as to applicants who have not yet submitted their applications. The department of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has made it clear that they do not wish to have a two-tiered system for applicants. The current regiment for applications is followed through by the first-in, first-out principle. This principle will continue to remain so applicants who have submitted their applications are likely to receive a decision on their application before applicants who have submitted their applications at a later time.

There are three specific factors that will aid in allowing IRCC to achieve this goal of a 12 month processing time for its spousal and common-law partner category under Family Class. The first factor is that the department has received an additional amount of $25 million CAD to assist with funding used for hiring and training their staff. The second factor is that the existing inventory of applications continues to be reduced every day. The third and last factor is that IRCC has utilized its experience and resources to improve the efficiency. Specifically, they have learned from the successful effort to bring in approximately 30 thousand Syrian refugees in small time frame in winter of 2015. With this experience, they have been able to transfer the lessons learned from that project to other categories of Canada’s overall immigration process.

The Changes to Spousal and Common-law Partner Sponsorship – Before and After

2 Application Kits
different for inland and overseas applications
1 Application Kit
now applies for both applications
180 pages of guides
different for inland and overseas application
1 Guide of 75 pages
now applies for both applications
14 guides and checklists 1 checklist
3 relationship questionnaires
1 sponsorship evaluation form
1 relationship and sponsorship form
Medical Exams & Police Certificates
Later in the Process
Medical Exams & Police Certificates Requested
Processing Times
Up to 26 months
Processing Times

Up to 12 months

An overview of the table above mentions that there is now only one application kit for both inland and overseas applications. This means that the application package as well as the checklist is the same. There is also a new basic guide that consists of 75 pages which is much shorter than the previous version. Now, there is a personalized document checklist that applicants can use; they have the choice of four checklists which is ultimately based on who is being sponsored, in order to find out which forms and documents they need to submit. Additionally, there is now a simpler relationship questionnaire for applicants to fill out which is much easier to understand and has less questions than the previous version. Most importantly, the medical exams and police certificates are now only requested later on in the application process. Specifically for police certificates, applicants need to provide only the certificates from the country they live and the country where they have spent most of their life since the age of 18, even if this is different from the country where they currently live.

How Will This Affect Canadian Immigration

With the new changes to the spouse and common-law partner sponsorship application through Family Class immigration programs, this will be extremely beneficial for applicants trying to permanently reside in Canada. The estimated number of spouses that will benefit from these changes are said to be approximately 64,000. Overall, this will ultimately benefit all Canadian citizens and permanent residents already residing in Canada as well. Canadians live and are provided with better life when their families are in Canada with them, instead of being isolated and away from their families. The Canadian Immigration has responded to the requests of Canadians nation-wide and has intended to bring families together in order to make for a stronger Canada. They understand and are compassionate with regards to the wait times that Canadians have to endure while they await a response for their spouse or common-law partner’s application.

Contact Akrami & Associates

If you wish to sponsor your spouse or common-law partner and you are a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident, we can help you with this process. Spousal and/or common-law partner sponsorship applications are not an easy process, but have now become easier with the help of the new implemented changes. Nevertheless, any Immigration application can become overwhelming if done alone; therefore, it is highly recommended that you seek out professional and experienced help before attempting to submit an application. Here at Akrami & Associates, we work and have experience with many different immigration issues. We have helped many of our clients gain permanent residency. If you believe that you might be eligible, please feel free to contact Akrami & Associates at our office at 416-477-2545 for more information or if you would like to book a consultation with an immigration professional for more advise.

With Akrami & Associates, there is always a way!