Great news! Canada in 2016 is opening up its doors and reuniting families on a greater scale, and taking in far more refugees than in recent years.

Not-so-great news. Hard-working, skilled workers and professionals with key experience will have to wait for their turn a little longer. The only class of immigrants projected to decrease in terms of total numbers is the economic class.

Are Justin Trudeau’s Liberals right on this one? Or is John McCallum – Minister of Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship (IRCC) – turning his back on talented workers around the world who want to contribute to Canada’s economy and society?

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Let’s take both sides of this breaking story, one at a time:

 

Is 2016 the Year to Sponsor Your Spouse?

Bride By Lee Jordan from Birmingham, England (Nikah 005) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

by Lee Jordan / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 2.0

Think way back to January 2015 when you had to scramble like European refugees desperate to get on board the last cargo ship to North America in 1939. Or at least that’s how the process made you feel. 5,000 spots were available for new parental family reunification, and they were gobbled up in days. You had to start getting the paperwork ready around Labour Day! No room for the slightest mistake on your forms – although to be fair there never is room for error on your forms if you want a decent shot – and even then the odds were against you. And getting your spouse and kids into Canada was sometimes a multi-year process.

Sorry! Try again next year! 

Guess what? IRCC has boosted targets for Sponsorship of Spouses, Partners and Dependent Children by almost 30% for 2016, up to 60,000! Not only that, but in 2017 they will be accepting 10,000 new applications for parents and grandparents. That means that while the total of 20,000 grandparents and parents for 2016 is the same as 2015 (the 5,000 application quota was for new applications), and the backlog of applications is expected to be worked down by some 15%. That means more room for new applications to bring your parents and grandparents to Canada in the next few years. 

So while the huge boost in refugee targets is getting all the press, getting your spouse and kids into Canada just got a whole lot easier, and will hopefully keep getting easier:

SponsorShip Stream 2016 Targets 2015 AdMissions
Spouses, Partners and Kids 60,000 Approx 45,000-48,000
Parents and Grandparents
(Does not include Supervisas)
20,000 Approx 18,000-20,000
(All but 5,000 were applications from previous years)

Sponsor your Spouse or Partner

As the backlogs in family reunification get worked down, processing times should decrease. That means you won’t have to wait a year (or two, or even more) to be able to work and qualify for government health insurance, in the case of Spouses who are in Canada and waiting for their applications to be approved. And in the case of grandparents and parents, it means they will finally be able to join you and watch their grandchildren (or even their great grandchildren) grow up.

And for you, it means Canada is starting to live up to its reputation as a humane society. If youare good enough to work and contribute to the economy as a permanent resident, don’t you have the right to have your family join you in your new home? 

Is the focus on family reunification hurting skilled immigrants?


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