New Immigration Policy in Canada Set to Reunite Immigrant Families

May 29, 2023


  • Wesley Allan

On Friday, May 26, 2023, Canada’s Minister for Immigration, Sean Fraser, announced that there would be some significant changes to immigration policy in Canada, explicitly referring to Family Sponsorship Canada. These changes will be designed to help sponsored applicants live and work in Canada while Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) processes their permanent residency applications.

Fraser’s reasons for the changes are simple.

Families are stronger when they’re together, and we want to help them unite and prosper here. That means enabling newcomers to bring their families to Canada and enabling those family members to get jobs here at a pace that doesn’t pose so much of a barrier to those families who are seeking to call Canada home.

What Are the Changes to the Immigration Policy in Canada?

The new policies will bring four major updates to family sponsorship in Canada to help those coming to Canada stay in Canada while their applications are processed. Certain updates also allow spouses and family members to obtain an Open work permit Canada during processing times. Learn more about Canada’s immigration processing times here.

The primary changes are as follows:

New Spousal Temporary Resident Visa Canada Processing Tools

The Canadian government has revised the criteria for Temporary Resident Visa Canada (TRV Canada) applicants coming to Canada under spousal or family sponsorship as many were being denied their TRV Canada as they couldn’t prove they would return to their home country once their TRV Canada expires despite over 90% of applicants’ permanent residency applications being approved by the end of the process.

As is currency stands, just under 79% of TRV Canada applicants are accepted, with 531,825 applicants applying in March 2023. Still, only 419,485 were processed that same month, according to IRCC’s monthly updates.

As a result, IRCC will now divert resources and have streamlined its processes to focus more on TRV Canada applicants who are also Family sponsorship applicants, allowing many sponsored family members to stay with their loved ones in Canada while their application is processed.

Faster Temporary Resident Visa Canada Processing Times

Fraser stated that this new approach to processing Temporary Resident Visa Canada applications for spouses and close family members would lead to an under-30-day processing time. According to Fraser:

This means that Family members will be able to travel to Canada more quickly and be with their loved ones sooner than what was previously the case.

New Open Work Permit Canada for Spouses and Families

Another major change is that the Canadian government is introducing a new initiative to issue open work permits to spousal applicants and their dependent children, regardless of whether they applied from inside or outside Canada. This will help new arrivals support themselves while their permanent residency application is processed.

Open Work Permit Extensions to The End of the Year (2023)

Open work permit holders whose current open work permits are set to expire before the end of 2023 can now extend their work permits a further 18 months using the same process designed to help extend the permits of Post-graduate Work Permit holders.

How Family Sponsorship Works:

These changes primarily affect Family Sponsorship Canada. The Family Sponsorship in Canada program allows Canadian citizens, permanent residents, and registered Indians to sponsor certain relatives to become permanent residents in Canada.

The program includes several categories: sponsoring a spouse, partner, dependent children, parents and grandparents, and other relatives. To be eligible to sponsor a relative, the sponsor must be at least 18 years old and meet certain requirements, such as passing background, security, and medical checks.

The program also has some limitations, such as the number of people who can be sponsored and the eligibility criteria for extended relatives. You can learn more about Family Sponsorship in Canada here.

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