HomeTagFamily Reunification Archives - Immigration Lawyer Vancouver, Canada | Sas & Ing Immigration Law Centre

The Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship (IRCC) has been busy making changes to Canada’s family reunification programs in December. In consecutive weeks during this holiday season the Minister has announced important changes to how sponsorship applications for spouses and parents and grandparents will be made in the new year. These changes will affect many families, since the Minister has already announced earlier in October this year that his department expects to admit 84,000 new family members to Canada as permanent residents in 2017.

The question of how to sponsor your spouse who is already in Canada seems like a rather simple one. Indeed if you put that question to a CIC call centre representative, their answer is almost always as follows: "If your spouse is in Canada you use the Inland Spousal sponsorship category but if your spouse is outside of Canada, you use the Family Class category". As in most things to do with our Canadian immigration system, the answers to such questions are never that straightforward. Let's review the differences between the Family Class and the In-land Spousal categories.

Canada's Family Class immigration program has historically allowed for Canadians to be able to sponsor their parents and grandparents. However, in November of 2011, Canada's immigration program for parents and grandparents was suspended to allow for a backlog of nearly 165,000 applications to be finalized. The Minister of Immigration introduced the "Action Plan for Faster Family Reunification" increasing processing levels from approximately 15,000 parent and grandparent applications per year to 25,000 applicants for each of 2011, 2012 and 2013.

This past weekend Canada’s Minister of Immigration Chris Alexander formally changed what was previously known as the Live-In Caregiver Program to the new Caregiver Program. Speculation had been circulating for years that the program might be drastically changed including eliminating the Permanent Resident component. Fortunately the residency component has been maintained and the program has been modified to eliminate the need for caregivers to reside with their employers and to allow for speedier processing of permanent resident applications.

At the time the program was frozen, there was a backlog of approximately 165,000 cases pending for consideration and processing levels at that time were 15,000 applications per year. In November of 2011 Minister Kenney increased the processing levels to 25,000 parent and grandparent applications per year and also introduced the new Super Visa to allow parents and grandparents to come to Canada on a more flexible basis for up to 10 years and allow individuals to stay in Canada for up to 2 years at a time. The Minister’s recent announcement introduces Phase 2 of the “Action Plan for Faster Family Reunification” and is targeting even faster processing times to avoid further backlogs in the future, and ensure that Canadian families have the sufficient financial resources to support their family members for a longer period of time. This second phase of the “Action Plan for Faster Family Reunification” features the following:

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