Canada is one of the most popular immigration destinations in the world. However, the growing backlogs, arduous processing periods, and lack of communication and openness aggravate individuals pursuing the Canadian dream.
According to figures from IRCC released by the immigration news website CIC News, the backlogs for all application categories grew to above 2 million in April, up from 1.8 million in March.
Canada’s immigration backlog has already exceeded 2 million individuals.
Meghrajsinh Solanki, a Windsor, Ontario-based business and regulatory analyst, is one of the two million applicants awaiting a decision. Nearly three years have passed since his family’s permanent residency application was submitted.
In September of 2019, he and his wife applied to the Canadian Experience Class (CEC), a program for skilled individuals with Canadian job experience.
Solanki has not heard from immigration authorities on the status of his application in over four months, and he does not know how much longer he must wait.
Since September 2021, CEC invites have been suspended, although IRCC aims to resume them in early July 2022.
“We shared many aspirations to live well in Canada, raise our children, etc. But it’s been delayed and postponed, and we still have nothing in hand,” he said on Tuesday.
While Solanki is in Canada on a work visa, his wife is still in India, and they cannot be reunited until they obtain permanent residence status.
In September of last year, he requested a guest visa for his wife, but it was refused. He has reapplied this month and is awaiting a response.
Solanki states that his experience with the Canadian immigration process was so stressful that he pondered abandoning his application and relocating permanently to India, despite having purchased a home in Canada.
“Of course, it makes absolutely no sense to live apart, regardless of how much you have, if you do not have your loved one with you,” he remarked.
IRCC closed several in-person offices
As a result of the initial outbreak of COVID-19, the IRCC shuttered several of its physical offices and canceled interviews, citizenship ceremonies, and other appointments. At the same time, its employees began working from home.
In a phone interview, Daniel Levy, a senior lawyer at Cohen Immigration Law, “I can tell you… that type of adjustment to work from home is not simple.”
In addition, the federal government created additional immigration schemes that only exacerbated the immigration system’s backlog.
In April of last year, the government established a new road to permanent residency for 90,000 temporary employees and overseas graduates crucial to the economy.
In September 2012, in response to the breakdown of the Afghan government and the Taliban takeover, Canada launched specific initiatives to relocate at least 40,000 Afghan refugees.
In March, the Trudeau administration established the Canada-Ukraine Authorization for Emergency Travel, which permits an “unlimited” number of Ukrainians escaping the Russian incursion to enter Canada on temporary residence visas.
According to Stephen Green, a senior attorney at the immigration law firm Green and Spiegel LLP, this produced a “perfect storm” for the current immigration backlogs.
Our immigration policy is amazing. I believe we own the finest in the world. I truly do. In a phone interview with CTVNews.ca, he said, “The problem is that we can’t handle any population growth due to this perfect storm.” We must fix this issue immediately.
To comprehend the timings of immigration backlogs, CTVNews.ca investigated the processing time for several of the most common visa types. As IRCC continues to incorporate new information, these processing timeframes are subject to change.
The lengthy delays have forced applicants to postpone significant life events and decisions while they continue to await an immigration judge.
Processing timeframes are sometimes varied among applicants, and for some, like Daniel Bernardes and his wife, the procedure might take considerably longer.
Since July, when they filed their Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) application, the pair has been awaiting updates. The backlogs have tired this family, and Bernardes claims they have forced him into a state of melancholy.
“We had high aspirations when we arrived in Canada due to the widespread belief that it is a welcoming place for immigrants, but now I am not so sure,” he added.
In 2021, Bernardes postponed a trip to Brazil to see his sister and mother-in-law, who were afflicted with health issues, while their application was pending.
In a phone conversation, he stated, “If I’m in Brazil and (my PR card) comes in Canada, it’s a catastrophe because I’m essentially trapped in my own country.”
With limitations loosening this year, Bernardes’s wife purchased plane tickets to visit her mother and his sister this summer, hoping that their permanent residency applications would be accepted. But this month, both of her ailing family members in Brazil passed away before she could say goodbye.
“While IRCC is not liable for their deaths, this PR procedure hindered her from returning home sooner and visiting her mother while she was still alive. “Only those who have lost a loved one without the opportunity to say goodbye can comprehend how tragic this is,” he remarked.
As part of the new pathway for critical workers, Caroline Haiashi, a health-care professional and mother of two from Hamilton, Ontario, filed for permanent residence status. She and her family submitted their application in May 2017, but she is still awaiting a response.
Like many candidates, Haiashi and her children have lived in Brazil without her husband, who cannot join them until the family obtains permanent status.
In addition, because the family has not yet obtained permanent status, Haiashi’s kid cannot attend university or college without paying high foreign tuition expenses.
“I cannot advance in my life. And even my kid wants to begin his life at a university or college, and we cannot make a decision without this information,” she said over the phone. This scenario is causing us to get depressed.
Lack Of Communication
The worst aspect of Solanki’s experience with Canada’s immigration system is not the lengthy processing delays but the lack of information from immigration officials regarding when he might anticipate a response.
“The delay is not the issue. The underlying issue is that we have no idea how long we will have to wait. It is utterly unknown, and it has rendered our lives uncertain since every action in our lives depends on its outcome, “he remarked.
And according to Marcucci, there have been occasions when she waited two to three hours to speak with an agent.
She stated that it is nearly hard to reach any agency. Currently, the data relating to the inventory of cases reflect a single point in time; however, as applications are approved, and new applications are submitted daily, these figures tend to vary regularly.
In an email issued to CTVNews.ca, Rémi Larivière, IRCC’s media relations adviser, explained that the backlogs result from closures at different processing centers and visa application centers throughout COVID-19.
According to the email, these closures resulted in lengthier processing times for applicants due to IRCC’s rising inventory and annual application volume.
Due to office closures, several difficult files involving paper applications experienced further delays. According to IRCC, partners that assist with the processing of complicated files have also seen longer than typical delays.
IRCC suffers from substantial inventory backlogs, despite delayed efforts to clear the pending pile. The department asserts that it is updating and expanding its services for those who wish to become Canadian citizens.
It includes online testing, online citizenship celebrations, and an online application tracker to keep applicants informed of the status of their files.
Larivière stated, “Despite significant efforts, we are aware that some applicants have suffered lengthy processing waits for their applications, and we continue to work as diligently as possible to shorten processing times.”
Additionally, the federal government has pledged to devote additional resources to immigration procedures. In the 2021 Economic and Fiscal Update, IRCC obtained increased money of $85 million to reduce wait times for new applications and inventory backlogs.
According to Immigration Minister Sean Fraser, this investment would be utilized to recruit additional workers.
In its budget for 2022, the federal government allocated $2.1 billion over five years and $317.6 million annually to facilitate the processing and settlement of new permanent residents.
In January, IRCC extended its advanced analytics to assist IRCC officials in sorting and processing applications for temporary residence visas. The objective is to enhance customer service and business operations.
However, Green is unconvinced that the digitalization attempts would alleviate the problems.
He feels that an urgent roundtable including business executives, attorneys, immigration authorities, and the federal government is required to address the escalating backlogs.
“We need to do it immediately,” he stated. The economic downturn will be remedied by the influx of temporary employees and immigration.
Due to employment shortages and the impending retirement of more than one in five working individuals, immigration is vital to Canada’s economy, and eliminating immigration backlogs is moving in the right direction.
According to Green, the degree of dissatisfaction among applicants is so great that many are petitioning the Federal Court of Canada to compel the department to process the applications.
However, this is a costly and laborious process. A mandamus petition is a legal procedure that compels IRCC to fulfill the legal obligation due to an applicant.
According to IRCC statistics released to New Canadian media, the Federal Court has referred 445 mandamus requests since 2021 as of February 28. According to the most recent data, the number of persons seeking court remedies to become Canadian citizens has increased sevenfold in the past three years.