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Canada is Making Serious Headway on Spousal Sponsorship Backlog

Canada announced that between December 2016 and February 2018 a huge backlog of Spousal Sponsorships had been addressed. The Canadian Immigration Department said that 60,000 applications had been processed – or 80% of the backlog.

Canada Is Making Serious Headway On Spousal Sponsorship Backlog

Canada’s Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Ahmed Hussen said the achievement delivers on a government promise made in December 2016 to reduce the backlog by 80 percent within a year.


“Just a year ago, in December 2016, there were almost 75,000 people in the spousal sponsorship backlog,” Hussen said. “As of today, more than 80 percent of those spouses in the backlog have received final decisions in their applications.”

The department confirmed that a further 15,000 individuals must still be processed but, according to the Minister, the department is “working diligently” to eliminate the backlog completely.

“Moving to a new country can be a difficult process, especially when it comes to spouses and partners who are separated by time and distance,” Hussen said. “Canadians with a partner or spouse who is abroad shouldn’t have to wait for years to have them immigrate to Canada. Nor should those in the country be left uncertain as to whether they will be allowed to stay in Canada.”

Changes to the application process

Hussen also announced a revision to the spouse and common-law partner sponsorship application procedure whereby some paperwork such as a police clearance and background check may be submitted with the initial application instead of later on in the process.

“These changes will help us process applications even faster and avoid unnecessary delays,” Hussen said.

As reported previously Canada has made family reunification an immigration priority and has introduced a number of policy changes to this end, including its promise to process the majority of spousal sponsorship applications within 12 months from the day they are received.


Prior to its December 2016 changes the average processing time for spouses/common-law partners of Canadian citizens and permanent residents in Canada was as long as 26 months.


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