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Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) released a statement on Valentine’s Day, announcing that 80% of the spousal sponsorship backlog had been completed. This is great news for couples that have been waiting patiently for their sponsorship decision. This announcement was made in response to the December 2016 IRCC promise to reduce the backlog by 80% within the following year. Although the completion of this task was around a month behind schedule, it appears that IRCC did finish clearing out the vast majority of backlogged applications.

In terms of numbers, the 80% represent over 75,000 applications in the sponsorship pool, which now leaves the backlog at around 15,000 cases, all filed prior to IRCC’s commitment of completing spousal sponsorship cases in 12 months at the latest
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In other news, on February 14, 2018, IRCC announced the modification of the spousal sponsorship checklist, allowing applicants to submit their Schedule A form and police certificates with their initial application, instead of submitting those documents later in the process. This significantly reduces delays in processing.

IRCC seems to moving towards a more simplistic and user-friendly spousal sponsorship process. Prior to 2016, the application process involved over 180 pages of guide material, two different application kits (for international applicants and in-Canada applicants, and 14 descriptive guides and checklists.) This process has now been simplified thoroughly, by lowering the pages of guide material to 75, by creating only one application kit for applicants, and one universal checklist.

For more information, contact Véronique Malka, Chair of the Canadian Law Group at CKR Law LLP, at vmalka@ckrlaw.com.

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