IRCC will exempt permanent and temporary residence applicants who are already in Canada and meet certain criteria from the immigration medical examination requirement. Simplifying this process in the coming weeks will impact approximately 180,000 clients by helping them save time and money on the medical examination process and reducing wait times on their applications.

To quickly process family reunification applications during the pandemic, IRCC began conducting telephone and video interviews with sponsors and applicants. Despite public health challenges, by pivoting quickly, the department was able to welcome more than 69,000 spouses, partners and children in 2021. By modernizing its services and adding support where needed, IRCC has now returned to the pre-pandemic service standard of 12 months for all new spousal sponsorship applications.

Now, as restrictions are eased globally, IRCC has resumed in-person interviews at Canadian and international offices. To provide spousal sponsorship clients with increased flexibility, IRCC will continue to offer virtual interviews to clients where possible. Theyare also working at expanding the availability of virtual interviews at our overseas offices, including through a pilot project allowing spousal sponsorship and other clients to take part in virtual interviews at some visa application centres rather than having to travel to a visa office.