The pandemic highlights of the bureaucracy important to Immigration Canada. Many couples are in the waiting for a response from their application for sponsorship and permanent residence. This is the case of Mathieu St-Pierre and his wife guatemalan Mariana Villeda, waiting for a response from the federal government for almost 17 months.
The application for permanent residence of Ms. Villeda was sent to the Immigration service, Refugee and Citizenship Canada well in advance of the pandemic, in march 2019.
Since then, the duo has had no return of the part of the federal administration about the progress of their case. The closing of the borders caused by the pandemic complicates things. Lovers have not seen now for eight months.
“In normal times, Immigration Canada tells us that 80 % of applications are processed within a period of 12 months. In our case, this period has been reached in the month of march 2020,” said Mathieu St-Pierre.
In the province, an additional step is added to the process that’s already well fleshed-out: the obtaining of a Certificate of selection of Quebec. While the declaration of service to the citizens the department is committed to respond to the request within a period of 25 working days, the couple had to wait seven months before receiving the paper.
“We can then submit it to the canadian ministry that complements the study of the folder, added Mr. St-Pierre. In normal times, it should be a formality to finish the record so the history of only a few months. In our case, it is already four or five.”
The delay in processing of immigration applications and sponsorship in Canada Immigration were an important issue, even before the crisis. The Bloc deplored the situation last winter.
“Currently, it has a major impact on the human plane, especially with the COVID-19,” said Maxime Blanchette-Joncas, member of parliament bloquiste for the riding of Rimouski-Neigette-Témiscouata-Les Basques.
“There is a lack of resources to Immigration Canada, but also a problem with the technology, he added. There is no digitization of records, particularly with paper records.”
If an error occurs in the transcription of the requests, people should get new paper documents by mail and start from scratch at times, which increases waiting times.
“We ask the government to engraft a little bit of heart and full of good will to increase the number of resources, but also to change things with the new technology, especially with the digitization of records”, implored Mr. Blanchette-Joncas.
Several similar cases
The Rimouskoi is part of a collection of over 3000 people who all remain in the dark about the progress of their requests, interrupted since the beginning of the pandemic. On the 8th of August next, they argue a little bit across Canada to make their voices heard.
“There are events that will take place across Canada, I am going to participate in one of Montreal that will be in front of the offices of Immigration Canada, explained the Rimouskois. It asks the federal government to have a bit of predictability, and we support their plan of action to ensure the treatment of our records.”
The activists propose to the federal government the creation of a program of temporary visas, allowing families to get together quickly until their immigration application is complete.
A petition of 3500 signatures appear on the site of the House of commons and is expected to be filed shortly.