Canada is seeking to process and finalize 6,000 spousal sponsorship applications each month between October and December 2020.
This major news has just been announced by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).
IRCC has increased the number of staff that will review spousal sponsorship applications by 66 per cent in order to reduce wait times and process applications more quickly.
In addition, IRCC is going to utilize new technology in a pilot to digitize paper applications. This is to allow IRCC employees working remotely and at various work settings to be able to quickly process applications.
IRCC said it will implement facilitative biometrics measures, but did not offer specifics.
In the coming weeks, it will also pilot technology to conduct interviews with applicants remotely.
These initiatives are aimed at accelerating, prioritizing, and finalizing about 6,000 spousal applications each month through to the end of 2020.
In all, this will result in 49,000 applications receiving decisions by the end of this year.
IRCC noted that the coronavirus pandemic has created uncertainty for Canadian citizens and permanent residents looking to sponsor their spouse. It will continue to seek innovative and compassionate ways to bring families together.
Spousal sponsorship application processing has been impacted by the coronavirus pandemic, resulting in recent protests.
Immigration minister Marco Mendicino recognized the challenges that slower processing has caused for families, stating:
We understand that the last few months have not been easy for those who are far from their loved ones in these difficult times. This is why we are accelerating the approval of spousal applications as much as possible. Our government will continue to find new ways to keep families together.
Under its Immigration Levels Plan 2020-2022, Canada targeted 70,000 spouses, partners, and children to be among the overall 341,000 immigrants it aimed to welcome in 2020. This plan and these targets were set prior to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
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