Canadian immigration: fewer offices, longer processing times.

By Author: admin | September 22, 2012

The Processing time for in-Canada marriage cases that are deemed to be slightly unusual is at least three years.  Part of this is due to the curious transnational nature of in-Canada immigration processing.  An in Canada marriage case for somebody from Toronto would be sent initially to Vegerville. Alberta, and 10 months later, the case would be sent to Vancouver, to languish for an additional 20 months or so. This delay is effectively a shutting down of the in-Canada spousal category for those applicants whose applications may be marred by something slightly unusual, such as a previous marriage for either the applicant or sponsor, or a previous refugee claim by the applicant.  These applicants technically cannot leave Canada while there application is pending, or else that application shall be refused.  This means that those applicants have no access to healthcare, and may not be able to legally work in Canada.

Similarly, permanent resident card applications are divided into two processing streams: one which is straightforward (primarily those applicants whose applications clearly showed they were in Canada for at least 730 days before applying), and others who have opted to assert their compliance with the two-year residency requirement  with proof of employment abroad by a Canadian business.  This letter category of applicant typically submits proof of the Canadian business and its activities. Such proof has to be examined in more detail by an immigration officer to prove that the business is legitimate.  The current processing time for this latter, more complex type of permanent resident card renewal application, is in the area of 20 months.  This inevitably means that persons in this category will likely be in possession of an expired permanent resident card, and can only enter Canada if they apply at a Canadian Embassy for travel document to re-enter Canada.

The issuance of a travel document the Canadian Embassy provides an opportunity for a Canadian visa officer to take away the status of the permanent resident whose permanent resident card has expired. On the bright side, the visa office will offer a right of appeal to that permanent resident whose card was not renewed in a timely way.  Thus, the slowness of processing permanent resident card renewals in Canada, leads to more work for visa offices outside of Canada, (i.e the work of generally refusing a travel document to permanent residents whose cards have expired).

That visa office refusal will lead to an increase of work at The Immigration Appeal Division of the Immigration Refugee Board, the court that deals with permanent residents who failed to demonstrate that they accumulated the minimum 730 days of residency in Canada.

This is no doubt a consequence of the June 1, 2012 closure of 19 Canada Immigration offices across the country (i.e. in  Nanaimo, Victoria, Prince George, Kelowna, Lethbridge, Regina, Thunder Bay, Sudbury, Barrie, Oshawa, Kingston, Sault St. Marie, Gatineau, Trois Rivieres, Sherbrooke, Québec, Saint John, Moncton, and Charlottetown).  Similarly, five visa offices were closed (i.e. Berlin, Dhaka, Tokyo, Kuala Lumpur and Belgrade).

The pattern that persons seeking a Canadian visa have to identify is the fact that there are effectively two streams for almost every category: the simple stream where cases can be processed quickly, and the complex stream which is characterized by significant delays.  Make sure you consult a lawyer to help ensure your case is a simpler one to process.

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I was born and raised in Toronto, Ontario Canada. I am an accomplished author and lecturer and am consulted by the media and other immigration lawyers and consultants on immigration matters and challenging immigration cases, appeals, and federal court matters.

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