August 10, 2016
Wishing And Waiting: Minister McCallum Addresses Sponsorship Wait Times
Family reunification is a cornerstone of Canadian immigration law and policy. In fact, reuniting families in Canada is codified as an overarching objective of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.
Despite the importance of family reunification in the books, many families have been facing ever-increasing processing times waiting for their loved ones to arrive in Canada. For spousal, common law or conjugal partner sponsorship, the processing times can extend well into years, depending on the visa office to which an applicant is required to apply.
Matters become even more complicated if a family class sponsorship is refused and the sponsor wishes to appeal this refusal. Given current timelines at the Immigration Appeal Division (IAD), an applicant waiting to come to Canada can then have to wait another year or two for their sponsor’s appeal to be heard before the IAD. While some initiatives have been implemented and there are steps which can be taken by counsel depending on the facts of a particular case, delays of this magnitude can cause extreme distress for separated families forced to keep their lives on hold for a number of years.
In this context, it is no surprise that the liberal government’s proposed changes to the immigration system are a welcome breath of fresh air. Minister John McCallum discussed the proposed changes as part of the government’s nationwide consultation process in Peel region last month, confirming that speeding up family class immigration was at the top of the government’s priority list. Minister McCallum called the current wait times “unacceptable” and stated that the reduction of family class processing times is the government’s “single most important commitment” with respect to forthcoming immigration reforms.
While it remains to be seen exactly how the process will be accelerated for families caught in the waiting game, acknowledging the impact of such extreme delays on thousands of families is a step in the right direction. Provided that the government’s commitments are followed up with concrete action, this will be welcome news for many waiting for family reunification to become a reality in Canada.
For more information on Family-Class Sponsorship, please click here: