Family reunification needs to be the priority during the pandemic. Protestors decided to take to the streets to persuade the government to address the delays experienced by candidates under the spousal and family sponsorship program. This problem predates the pandemic and is hence something that the government should remedy as soon as possible.
While foreign common-law partners and spouses of Canadians do not have to abide by coronavirus travel restrictions, many couples are still facing problems. Some are finding it difficult to even secure a Temporary Resident Visa (TRV) for their partner, causing further problems.
Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) is known to deny TRVs for candidates belonging to visa-required countries if their family sponsorship application is already in processing. The reason for this is that they must provide proof that they will be able to leave the country after their authorized visit so as to get the TRV, but it will conflict with their intent to immigrate permanently via family sponsorship.
A large number of couples are finding themselves in a hopeless situation. They are forced to live apart during the processing of permanent residence applications. Some couples say that they have already waited three years for their applications to be approved.
On September 19, demonstrations took place in several Canadian cities for faster resolution of this issue. A group called the Spousal Sponsorship Advocates organized the events. The primary demand is to introduce amendments to the current visa requirements. They are also asking for the introduction of a new visitor visa that would give family members the ability to stay in Canada when they are waiting for permanent residence approval. The group started an online petition and has garnered over 15,000 signatures.
More Canadians opine that the federal government should currently prioritize family reunification more than other immigration classes during the pandemic.