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Playing cupid: Liberals fast-track foreign couple reunions

Playing cupid: Liberals fast-track foreign couple reunions
From CBC - February 14, 2018

The Liberal government has cut back the waittimes for foreign spouses looking to reunite with their loved ones in Canada and has made considerable headway on a big backlog of applications.

The average wait is now one year in about 80 per cent of cases, down from the previoustwo-year wait, according to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada.

Immigration officials also have made a significant dent in what had become avast backlog of files, bringing it fromroughly 75,000 files down to about 15,000 in just over a year.

Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussentold CBCNews it was the "humane" thing to do.

"We wanted to make sure families were not unnecessarily kept apart and family reunification is a very key priority for our government," he said in an interview. "And that is why spousal sponsorship was, isand will continue to be a key part of our immigration system."

Hussensaid the results were achieved by deploying a "tiger team" of staff to tackle the backlog, and by simplifying the application process to avoid delays and duplication.

He said the government took no shortcuts on the rigorous screening process, even thoughmost claims are from what he called "bona fide" couples.

The ministerformally announced details of progressmade on the file to date, along with changes to the application process meant to boost efficiency,at a dessert shop in Mississauga, Ont.

'Significant improvement'

The decision to make the announcement with couples in attendance who have benefited from quicker processing timesand to do it on Valentine's Daywas meant to underscore how immigration policies affect real lives, Hussensaid.

"To each person, it means the world to them to make sure that application is processed quickly and that they are reunited with their family members," he said.

Political advantage

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