Refugee family reunification

Refugees in Canada seeking to reunite with immediate family members overseas face very long processing delays.

They seek reunification through:

  • Dependants of refugees (DR2s) category (for people who were accepted as refugees in Canada, or
  • One Year Window applications (for people who were resettled to Canada as refugees).

In December 2016, the government announced faster processing for Family Class spousal sponsorships. But no measures have been announced to expedite family reunification for refugees, even though processing times are MUCH slower than for Family Class.

 According to last available data, it takes on average 38 months for refugee dependants (“DR2s”) to be processed.

There are no processing times for One Year Window applications.

In March 2017, the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration (CIMM) recommended:

That Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada establish service standards of 12 months for applications under the One-Year Window family reunification program for resettled refugees and for processing applications for dependents abroad of protected persons.


Recommendation: Introduce the same standard short processing times for family reunification for spouses and children, in all categories and regions.

Recommendation: Publish data on processing times by category and region, so the public can monitor if standards are met.