Processing Times for Spousal applications – Don’t Be Pakistani, Russian, or Colombian or Jamaican or Kenyan

By Author: Admin | August 29, 2011

The processing times for cases processed at the visa offices for the above countries are significantly longer than other visa offices, as high as 32 months. The official government policy for spousal sponsorships used to be that a relationship deemed legitimate was subject to a faster processing priority. This policy seems to have abated. There is a decidedly under-emphasis on family reunification, and over-emphasis on the economic purposes of immigration.

I’ll concede that Canadian governments should give slightly more emphasis to economic immigration in hard economic times. One such solution would be to allow entrepreneurs who engage in start-ups immigrate faster; such start ups should be those that take advantage of Canada’s well-educated population, decent infrastructure (excepting rapid transit which is making Canada’s cities less attractive to business persons) and responsible banking system.

It seems that the Canadian government does not see the economic impact of a separation of spouses. On the down side, this manifests itself in time off (owing to the need to take longer vacations particularly if your spouse resides very far from Canada), delayed plans in getting larger accommodation, affects the ability of the sponsor to be more productive at work . Similarly, big plans are delayed, which invariably means a delay in the couple contributing to the economy. In addition, the maintaining of a long-distance relationship is more difficult for those in less favourable financial circumstances, which increases the chance that a legitimate marriage gets refused – thus clogging up Canada’s largest tribunal, the Immigration and Refugee Board.
Xenophobes take note: if sponsored spouses take social assistance within three years after landing it must be paid back by their Canadian sponsor.

It is notable that the spousal visa delays did not exist as little as three years ago. At that time, most visa offices completed 80% of their spousal/common law visas within six months. This can only be attributed to a shifting of resources in favour of other programs. The shifting of resources towards economic immigration would be without much complaint as the countries affected generally do not have Canadian sponsors who are well –connected in Canada politically. The current government is aware of this and will let such applications fall by the wayside. This can be downright dangerous for clients who are in Pakistan which is on the brink of political collapse and experiencing violence at a very high level.

The solution for extreme delay of spousal sponsorships would be to seek mandamus at the federal court after making a formal demand at the visa office. The difference in processing of spousal cases should not vary so widely from visa office to visa office (i.e. four months for Beijing and as high as 32 months for Nairobi). Such a discrepancy can be bureaucratically dismissed as bring attributed to the need for more scrutiny for some cases based on historical patterns, or could be construed of in a more insidious way.

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I was born and raised in Toronto, Ontario Canada. I am an accomplished author and lecturer and am consulted by the media and other immigration lawyers and consultants on immigration matters and challenging immigration cases, appeals, and federal court matters.

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