TRV Refusal Rate at 70% for Overseas Spousal Sponsorship Applicants

Published on: September 10th, 2021

Numbers from November 2020 have revealed an extraordinarily high refusal rate of temporary resident visas (TRV) to applicants with ongoing overseas spousal or partner sponsorship applications.

The problem with visitor visas for overseas sponsorship applicants

Temporary Resident Visa (TRV) applications require applicants to demonstrate that they have no strong ties to Canada and intend to return to their home country by the end of their authorized stay. Because of this, TRV applications for candidates with a spouse in Canada are often denied, leaving many couples apart during the lengthy processing time.

Long sponsorship processing times

One Canadian, Lori Wicks, waited over 30 months for her husband’s sponsorship application to be processed, forcing them to celebrate their 4th anniversary virtually.

“It’s unreasonable to be asking us to live like this,” Wicks said to CBC news.

The burden of such a delayed processing time may be alleviated if applicants could easily visit their spouse in Canada. Due to the high refusal rate, this is made impossible for many. A report from November 2020 demonstrates how prevalent this issue is for candidates with pending sponsorship applications.

Number of Temporary Resident Visa Applications Approved and Refused for Overseas Spouses and Partners in Processing Inventory

Country of CitizenshipApprovedRefusedRefusal Rate
Grand Total5681,30069.6%
People's Republic of China413042.3%
Federal Republic of Cameroon73382.5%
Other Countries17644471.6%

The above table is broken down by top 10 countries of citizenship as of November 7, 2020 in persons.

NDP calls for special family sponsorship temporary resident visa

The current Liberal government has been criticized for not doing enough to reunite spouses and partners during lengthy processing times. While an open work permit is available for individuals whose spouse or partner is studying or working in Canada, the same is not available for overseas candidates applying for sponsorship. This issue has particularly come into focus during the COVID-19 pandemic when most processing times were at a standstill.

Last September, NDP immigration critic, Jenny Kwan, called upon Immigration Minister Marco Mendicino to prioritize family reunification and create a special temporary resident visa as part of the family reunification process.

Such a visa could ensure couples are reunited in a timely manner without the distress caused by TRV refusals and delays in processing.

Co-founder and spokesperson for Spousal Sponsorship Advocates, Misha Pelletier, supports these proposed changes, saying they will enable loved ones to be together in Canada while awaiting the finalization of their sponsorship application.

The proposed visa would not apply to those with a history of non-compliance with the requirement to leave Canada or any other country.

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