To celebrate Family Day in Ontario, our newsletter focused on some recent developments with regard to the family sponsorship programs.
- There continues to be a backlog in spousal sponsorship applications, both in-Canada and visa offices abroad. Processing times are slowly improving but are not yet at pre-Covid levels.
- In the Prime Minister’s mandate letter to the new IRCC Minister, he specified the lengthy processing times for these applications as an area of concern and called for a program to issue temporary resident status to families abroad while waiting for the processing of their PR applications. No program has yet been announced, but we are waiting in anticipation.
- IRCC launched a new online portal where spousal sponsorship applicants can track their immigration application online. This has helped determine which stage applications are currently in and can be accessed by clients and representatives.
- We are still waiting for IRCC to release details on the parent and grandparent sponsorship program (PGSP). Last year, they continued with the lottery based program even though it was heavily criticized, as the demand for the program was much higher than the number of people who were issued invitations to apply. According to the Immigration Levels Plan (2021-2023), they are looking at bringing 23,500 applicants under the program in 2022.
- The Minister released a public policy stating that due to the pandemic, the 2021 income requirement for this program will be reduced from having to show an income level equal to the low-income cut off (LICO) + 30% to just having to meet the LICO. The exact amount needed will be released with the program details.
- The Parent/Grandparent Supervisa application or two year visitor record extensions that are based on the Supervisa provisions are great options for people looking to have their parents/grandparents in Canada while waiting to be drawn in the lottery. These applications continue to be processed and processing times for them are improving.