More than half of Canada’s same-sex couples in limbo over immigration status
- by admin
The federal government has confirmed that some of Canada, and possibly the world, are facing a shortage of people with the right to marry, but the number is far from being fully realized.
More than two-thirds of Canada has fewer than 20,000 married couples, according to figures from the Canadian Centre for Immigration Studies, and the situation is worse in Quebec, which has an aging population.
In a statement, Citizenship and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney said more than 1,300 couples were waiting to marry before the end of the year and the federal government is working to fill those gaps.
“While we are making progress on this issue, we are still lacking in the number of eligible couples who are prepared to commit to marriage,” he said in the statement.
“We have been working with provinces and territories and other partners to provide services and services to help these couples get married.”
In the meantime, thousands of Canadians are stuck in limbo, unable to access the services they need to find a partner or settle in their new home.
The Canadian Centre estimates that 1.7 million people have been separated from their families and can’t find permanent legal residence.
Kenney’s statement did not offer details on how many people in Canada are waiting to get married.
Immigration Minister Chris Alexander said the numbers are “more than we could have imagined” at the end a year ago.
He said that if Canada were to have its entire population married by 2020, it would have an “overwhelming” shortage of couples.
“If you were to go through all the marriage process in Canada and take a look at the number, I think it would be well above 1,500 couples,” he told CBC News.
“It is a very, very large number.”
While Canada is on pace to reach the 1.8 million marriageable-age population, the number could be much higher because of a backlog of applications from applicants under age 25.
Immigration officials say the backlog has been estimated at around 1,800 to 1,900 couples per month.
Alexander said in an interview that the backlog is now down to 200 to 250 cases a month, but he added that the numbers of couples waiting to receive a marriage certificate are “extremely high.”
He said the backlogs will not stop as long as the government continues to ramp up the number and has not decided how long to maintain it.
The minister said the government has also launched a new initiative, called Canadian Family Partnership, to help find couples.
The group provides legal assistance to couples who do not meet immigration requirements, and has also helped to find families for couples who have not been able to marry for the past year.
The government says the initiative is intended to provide financial support to couples and their families.
“There are more than two million Canadian families in crisis who are trying to find partners for the next few years,” Alexander said.
“This is a way to help.”
Immigration officials are working on a solution to the marriage-related backlog.
According to a recent government report, more than 600,000 people are waiting in the system for their applications to be processed.
Kennebec MP Peter Kent said it is “unfortunate” that so many Canadians have to wait in limbo to marry.
“I think there is a lot of work to do on this problem,” Kent told CBC.
“In terms of numbers of married couples waiting for a marriage, it is a huge problem, and I would love to see the number reduced.”
He also pointed to the government’s commitment to ensuring that the number grows to 1.9 million in 2020.
“As long as we keep on at this pace, there will be no marriage in this country,” he added.
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