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Expansion of Sydney CPCentre to Process Family Reunification Applications

Posted on 06/03/2021

If you’re frustrated with the delays that COVID-19 restrictions have imposed on your family-class sponsorship application, there’s some good news.

IRCC announced on March 5, 2021 that they will be expanding their office space and hiring 62 new employees at the Case Processing Centre in Sydney, Nova Scotia. The CPC-Sydney office handles family class applications that the sponsored spouses and children live outside Canada. The expansion is to be able to increase effective capacity seeing COVID restrictions require a 30% occupancy limit for the office. By expanding it, it enables the IRCC to work closer to its pre-COVID capacity, although not at 100%. But it’s a welcome improvement.

Why did the Minister Mendocino announce this new expansion? Here’s what the announcement says:

The new space and additional staff will be primarily dedicated to family class overseas applications.

Frustrated Canadian partners have reached the limit of their patience with an application process that has occasionally stretched out to 3 years or more. While most family class sponsorship applications are processed in around 1 year, there are applications – especially for Cuban partners and spouses who wish to come to Canada – that have faced unbearably long delays.  Consider the following:

  • A group of 8 Canadian women from across Canada recently sent a letter to Minister Mendocino, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, and the High Commission in Port of Spain, Trinidad & Tobago, demanding action to address the unreasonable delays their husbands faced while waiting in the Caribbean for their applications to be processed. They also went on the CBC to tell some fairly dramatic stories of giving birth to their sons and raising them alone without the father there with them.
  • In September 2020 as well as earlier there were protests across Canada on the difficulty of obtaining a Temporary Resident Visa (TRV) while waiting for a PR application (that is, the family class spousal sponsorship application) to be processed.
  • As we have mentioned in previous blogs, this involves what is called Dual Intent: to be eligible for a TRV you have to prove you will leave Canada after your temporary visa expires which contradicts your goal of permanent residence through sponsorship. Dual intent allows the sponsored spouse/partner to have 2 separate intentions. The protesters claimed their sponsored spouses/partners are not being given the benefit of dual intent when applying for TRVs.
  • A group called Spousal Sponsorship Advocates (go here for more information) organized these protests and gathered nearly 15,000 signatures on a petition calling for amendments to visa requirements in Canada.
  • Jenny Kwan – MP and Immigration Critic for the NDP – has gathered 6,000 signatures for a petition calling for a special temporary resident visa for sponsored spouses.
  • Around 36% of Canadians polled think immigration in Canada should focus more on family reunification.

Clearly the addition of staff and office space at the Sydney Nova Scotia Case Processing Centre is a step in the right direction. But what protesters are demanding also includes a solution for the problem of dual intent for sponsored spouses and partners.

Stay tuned for news of any further steps in this area.


Posted in News and tagged Overseas spousal sponsorship, Sydney-CPC

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