Families are meant to be together, especially during life’s big moments like moving to a new country. That is why Canada is working to help families reunite more quickly and easily, and support themselves once in Canada.
Today, the Honourable Sean Fraser, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, joined by the Honourable Hedy Fry, Member of Parliament for Vancouver Centre, announced new measures to strengthen family reunification, including
- faster temporary resident visa (TRV) processing times for spousal applicants
- new and dedicated processing tools for spousal TRV applicants
- a new open work permit for spousal and family class applicants
- open work permit extensions for open work permit holders expiring between August 1 and the end of 2023
Minister Fraser announced faster temporary resident visa (TRV) processing and more considerate application measures so that families can be together sooner while they wait for their permanent residence to be finalized. Going forward, most of these applications will be processed within 30 days, and applicants will benefit from processing measures specific to their circumstances as spouses and dependants. Many applications have already been processed using these new tools. Within this cohort of applicants, we have seen an approval rate of 93%.
Once in Canada, newcomers often seek jobs to support themselves and their families. That is why Canada has also made open work permits available for spousal applicants and their dependent children who reside with their sponsor in Canada and have temporary resident status. Spouses, partners and dependants are now able to apply for and receive an open work permit as soon as they submit a complete permanent residence application under the spouse or common-law partner in Canada class (SPCLC) or other family class programs.
Finally, Minister Fraser announced that spousal applicants, along with other open work permit holders, whose open work permits expire between August 1 and the end of 2023, will be able to extend their work permits for an additional 18 months. A similar option was recently offered to many with expiring post-graduation work permits.
Immigration will continue to play a vital role in addressing Canada’s labour shortages, and together, these initiatives deliver on the Minister’s mandate letter commitment to strengthen family reunification by facilitating temporary resident status to spouses, partners and dependent children waiting for permanent residence.
“Family reunification through immigration is not only a matter of compassion; it is a fundamental pillar of Canadian society. Today’s announcement is a mandate commitment to help build inclusive and resilient communities. We are supporting Canadians and newcomers by reuniting families faster, and also allowing them to work and support themselves more quickly once they’re here. By doing so, Canada is helping newcomers achieve their true potential, while also strengthening Canada’s economy and social fabric.”
– The Honourable Sean Fraser, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship
“Family reunification lies at the heart of building vibrant and inclusive communities. In Vancouver, we know that when families are united, they become stable, put down roots and begin to build a future. Our city thrives. This unwavering commitment to bringing loved ones together fuels our collective spirit and enriches the tapestry of our diverse neighbourhoods. Today’s emphasis on family reunification amplifies Vancouver’s strength, resilience, and compassion as we create a city where every individual feels a sense of belonging, and every family can flourish.”
– The Honourable Hedy Fry, Member of Parliament for Vancouver Centre
- Canada has taken action to improve client service and process applications faster. In 2022, we finalized more than 5.2 million applications across our multiple lines of business, resulting in millions of people getting decisions on their cases.
- Since July 2022, new spousal sponsorship applicants can expect their applications to be processed within the service standard of 12 months (for 80% of cases, for non-Quebec applications).
- Open work permits are available to foreign nationals in a number of different situations, but not all will be eligible for an extension through this facilitated processing measure. It will only be offered to
- permanent residence applicants awaiting a decision on their permanent residence application and their spouses
- family class-sponsored spouses with valid temporary resident status and their dependent children
- spouses and common-law partners of most work permit holders and their dependent children
- spouses and common-law partners of study permit holders
- Canada issued more than 1,075,000 work permits and work permit extensions in 2022.