Canada

Last Updated on March 5, 2021

Canada’s immigration department is targeting a return to one-year standard processing for spousal applications by hiring staff and increasing office space.

In an announcement on Friday March 5, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) says additional resources will be aimed at the processing of overseas applications in the family class.

“These added resources will help IRCC process more applications and shorten processing times that have been extended during the pandemic,” an IRCC statement said.

The additional staff and office space will be provided at the Case Processing Centre in Sydney, Nova Scotia. Currently working at 30 percent capacity, the new space will also allow existing employees to return to the office.

“Most notably, the extra space and increased capacity will speed up processing times and help us return to the one-year standard for spousal applications,” said Immigration Minister Marco Mendicino.


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Canada plans to welcome 401,000 new immigrants in 2021, of which 103,500 are expected to come via family class programs.

The ambitious numbers included 80,000 spouses, partners and children, and 23,500 parents and grandparents.


Canada’s Family Class Immigration Levels Plan

2021 2022 2023
Overall Permanent Resident Admissions 401,000 411,000 421,000
Spouses, Partners and Children 80,000 80,000 81,000
Parents and Grandparents 23,500 23,500 23,500
Total Family 103,500 103,500 104,500

Family Sponsorship Set To Boom

Family sponsorships, one of the fastest and most popular ways to gain permanent residence in Canada, are expected to boom again as international travel restrictions ease up later this year.

As the borders loosen up with the worldwide distribution of COVID-19 vaccines and economies recover from the financial impact of the pandemic, the family sponsorship class of immigration programs promises to provide great opportunities for foreign nationals who want to make Canada their home.

Canada’s Family Sponsorship Immigration

Under family sponsorship programs, a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident of Canada, aged 18 or more can sponsor certain family members to become Canadian permanent residents.

With that permanent residence, those family members are able to live, study and work in Canada.

Sponsors Are Financially Responsible For Relatives

The sponsor assumes all financial responsibility for their relative once he or she arrives in Canada.

To be a sponsor, the Canadian citizen or permanent resident must:

  • sign a sponsorship agreement with the relative to be sponsored that commits the sponsor to provide financial support for the relative, if necessary. This agreement also says the person becoming a permanent resident will make every effort to support him or herself;
  • provide financial support for a spouse, common-law or conjugal partner for three years from the date they become a permanent resident, and;
  • provide financial support for a dependent child for 10 years, or until the child turns 25, whichever comes first.

Relatives who can be sponsored include:

  • spouse – (restrictions apply)
  • common-law partner – (restrictions apply)
  • conjugal partner – (restrictions apply)
  • dependent children
  • parents – (Additional conditions apply)
  • grandparents – (Additional conditions apply)
  • brothers or sisters, nephews or nieces, granddaughters or grandsons who are orphaned, under 18 years of age and not married or in a common-law relationship
  • another relative of any age or relationship but only under specific conditions
  • accompanying relatives of the above (for example, spouse, partner and dependent children).

Spouses and common-law partners who come to Canada under the sponsorship programs are allowed to work under the Spousal Work Permit Pilot Program.

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