Immigration Canada vows to cut short sponsorship time

Rowena Papasin, ABS-CBN North America News Bureau

Posted at Apr 09 2016 07:49 AM

VANCOUVER - Immigration Canada vows to cut short the processing time for the sponsorship of spouses, children, parents and grandparents.

Casino employee Rommel Yap tried to sponsor his wife Blessing’s children when they got married in the Philippines more than two years ago.

But there were problems bringing the kids with her to Canada. So she had to leave them behind.

Yap said the years of separation took its toll on the children.

"Kasi parati sinasabi ng panganay eh 'How I wish you were here to take care of me like this.' Yong kasi babae, di ba, so wala siyang ibang mako-confide-an. Yung bunso naman, siyempre nandoon yung misis ko pa, siya ang nagtu-tutor eh, so napabayaan, parang bumaba yung grades," he said.

This year, they plan to apply again before Blessing’s daughter turns 19 next year and becomes ineligible for sponsorship.

But that’s another hurdle for them as the latest estimate from Immigration Canada shows processing time for a dependent child can take as long as 16 months.

Yap’s dilemma is shared by countless other immigrants who want to bring their families to Canada but spend years waiting before they are reunited.

Immigration Minister John McCallum said the long wait time for the processing of children, parents, and grandparents is unacceptable.

"The processing times have been extraordinarily and unacceptably high but because the inventories have been reduced, over the next year or two, those processing times will be coming down," he said.

To fast-track processing time, Canada is looking at its recent experience with Syrian refugees.

McCallum said if the ministry was able to process 25,000 Syrian refugees within four months, they may yet be able to cut down the wait times for the sponsorship of family members.

"We can transfer what they learned on refugees into doing it faster for families so that way we will increase the capacity of the department and it will be easier to address the family processing time issue," he added.

Read more on Balitang America