IRCC Adds 66% More Agents on Spousal Applications to Speed Things Up!
By CENK KEMAL HAZNACI
It is no mystery that all Canadian immigration applications have been affected by the pandemic. Since March 2020, both temporary and permanent residence applications have been moving slowly. Perhaps paper applications took the worst hit. Online applications regrouped relatively quickly with case processing agents working remotely. But paper applications were not that lucky with zero to few agents at Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship (IRCC) offices. Well, that is changing as of today!
Today, Marco E. L. Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, announced that IRCC will add 66% more processing capacity to deal with the backlog of spousal sponsorship applications. This is mainly thanks to a new technology. IRCC is piloting a technology that digitizes paper applications. That way, IRCC case processing agents will be able to ‘handle’ spousal sponshorship applications at the comfort of their homes. The target is 6,000 spousal sponsorship applications to be processed per month until the end of year.
In the announcement, there is word of other initiatives too. In addition to the biometrics measures, IRCC will conduct interviews remotely, testing another new technology.
These are certainly welcome news for those separated by their loved ones. There has been a significant #prioritizefamilysponsorship movement lately. Particularly a facebook group named Spousal Sponsorship Advocates truly pushed for a change and did everything they could to make their voices heard. This includes numerous rallies in all major Canadian cities, petitions (6,000+ signatures strong), recruiting Members of Parliament to the cause, engaging media both broadcast, print and online. My hat’s off to all those who fought for what they believed in.
Now, all that we hope is for the new technology to work without serious hickups, so that the target levels can be met. It is also unclear whether or not the permanent residence application element of outland spousal applications will be included in this initiative. If not, then this initiative might help with only one part of the problem. Visa offices around the world are still working at limited capacity. Also, biometrics collection is an ongoing problem in many Visa Application Centres around the world. But let’s not sour the tone here! Today is a good day!