Speed Up Family Sponsorship Application Processing, Quebec Urged 

Speed Up Family Sponsorship Application Processing, Quebec Urged
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Protesters have gathered outside Quebec Premier François Legault’s office in Montreal to demand the province improve its processing times for family sponsorship applications.

The latest data from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada’s (IRCC) website shows a huge disparity in processing times for family sponsorship applications in Quebec compared to those where the applicant lives somewhere in the rest of Canada.

A spousal or common-law partner sponsorship takes only 12 months to process in the rest of Canada but roughly 30 months in Quebec.

Sponsoring a parent or a grandparent can take up to 51 months, more than four years, when the applicant is in Quebec, almost twice as long as the 26 months when the applicant is elsewhere in Canada.

The application processing times for dependent children vary greatly depending on where the child is currently located.

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In an open letter to Quebec Immigration Minister Christine Frechette, a group of more than 1,800 families which calls itself Québec Réunifié called these delays unacceptable and urged the government to speed things up.

“This situation is due to the cap on family sponsorships, causing profoundly heartbreaking consequences, including psychological distress,” wrote the organization in its open letter in February.

“Families thus find themselves separated and people see their mental and physical health deteriorate due to obstacles which prevent them from living as families.”

Québec Réunifié wants the provincial government to step up to the plate and ensure family sponsorships in Quebec are processed within 12 months.

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In February, the organization gained an ally in Quebec provincial politician André Morin, the provincial Liberals’ immigration critic, who noted on social media that these delays in family sponsorship applications often affect children and so may possibly be in contravention of international law with regards to the rights of children.

“These people who are waiting to come to Quebec, they have spouses, they have roofs over their heads, most of them are French-speaking,” said Morin. “Quebec cannot do without these people who are an asset to our society .”

The immigration critic called the long processing times for family sponsorships inhumane.

“Imagine having to wait three years to be reunited with your spouse who is currently outside the country,” he said.

Slow Sponsorship Processing Times Called ‘Inhumane’ By Immigration Critic

“It’s inhumane. These interminable delays due to the ideological stubbornness of the Coalition Avenir Québec (CAQ) are unacceptable in a welcoming society like Quebec. The CAQ government must shift into solution mode and come to an agreement with Ottawa because we are dealing with human beings here.”

The Member of the National Assembly’s comments came in the wake of a lawsuit launched by an immigration lawyer against the government in which he challenged the provincial government’s entire handling of the immigration portfolio going back to 2018.

That immigration lawyer argued the Canada-Quebec Accord, a deal between the federal and provincial government which determines how immigration issues are to be handled in Quebec, does not allow the francophone province the right to put a cap on the family sponsorships.

Although there are 38,400 Quebeckers waiting to be reunited with their loved ones, the province is currently only accepting a maximum of 10,600 per year.

That means that at the current rate of processing for family sponsorships in Canada, it will take three years for those applications to be processed.

“Why does a spousal sponsorship application take three times longer in Quebec than in the rest of the country?” asks Morin.

“Through its chaotic and ideological management of immigration, the CAQ has created two classes of citizens in Canada. We are proposing that the minister put in place a 24-month plan to clear the waiting list and finally allow these 38,400 Quebecers to be reunited with their families.”

Quebec Premier François Legault has repeatedly stated he will hold the line on immigration and made it clear his government is deeply-committed to ensuring the survival of the French language.

Quebec Premier Is Holding The Line On Immigration To The Province

The premier has gone so far as to put forth proposals to limit all economic immigration to the province to French-speaking immigrants by 2026.

“As premier of Quebec, my first responsibility is to defend our language and our identity,” said Legault. “During the past few years, the French language has been in decline in Quebec. Since 2018, our government has acted to protect our language, more so than any previous government since the adoption of Bill 101 under the Levesque government.

“But, if we want to turn the tide, we must do more. By 2026, our goal is to have almost entirely francophone economic immigration. We have the duty, as Québécois, to speak French, to daily pass on our culture and to be proud of it.”

Temporary workers who come to the province on work permits and international students in Quebec who are there on study permits often later seek to immigrate to Canada through either the federal Express Entry system’s Federal Skilled Worker (FSW) program, Federal Skilled Trades (FST) program and Canadian Experience Class (CEC) or the Provincial Nominee Programs (PNP) of the provinces.

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Colin Singer
Colin Singer is an international acclaimed Canadian immigration lawyer and founder of immigration.ca featured on Wikipedia. Colin Singer is also founding director of the Canadian Citizenship & Immigration Resource Center (CCIRC) Inc. He served as an Associate Editor of ‘Immigration Law Reporter’, the pre-eminent immigration law publication in Canada. He previously served as an executive member of the Canadian Bar Association’s Quebec and National Immigration Law Sections and is currently a member of the Canadian Chapter of the American Immigration Lawyers Association. Colin has twice appeared as an expert witness before Canada’s House of Commons Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration. He is frequently recognized as a recommended authority at national conferences sponsored by government and non-government organizations on matters affecting Canada’s immigration and human resource industries. Since 2009, Colin has been a Governor of the Quebec Bar Foundation a non-profit organization committed to the advancement of the profession, and became a lifetime member in 2018.