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Immigration and extension of deadlines: a headache for all participants in the chain

Although there are federal immigration programs, each province also has its own programs and even its own selection system. However, whether it is a provincial or federal selection, there is unanimous opinion that the process leading to immigration is time consuming. This delay, which is becoming longer and longer, often worries candidates, generates difficulties for the administration and constitutes challenges to be taken up for all those concerned, in particular consultants and lawyers specializing in immigration and especially companies that can no longer wait for their arrival. Despite the health crisis, possible solutions are being studied.


The wait that grows longer despite the efforts


How long will the immigration process take me? The answer to this seemingly trivial but still relevant question has already discouraged candidates, upset those involved in the process, and even embarrassed immigration authorities. Although these are working hard to reduce the processing delays for applications for temporary or permanent residence, the situation is not always good; especially with the pandemic which for almost two years has left the whole world pending.


Canadian immigration has a long tradition that has evolved over time with the search for greater efficiency and effectiveness. The increasingly growing applications at the beginning of year 2000 and processing delays that became very long (sometimes up to 3 years) led the federal government to introduce in 2015, the Express Entry system to manage the selection of candidates from certain categories including: Federal Skilled Worker, Canadian Experience Class, Skilled Trades Worker Class and some provincial programs. Alongside the Express Entry system, the Arrima system introduced in 2019 allows the selection of candidates for Quebec immigration.


These two systems have significantly improved the immigration process by reducing selection time and facilitating the processing of applications. In addition, since July 31, 2018 Immigration Refugee and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has clarified the official delays for processing applications. According to this new directive, the processing of an application for permanent residence for example from a candidate selected via Express Entry should take six (6) months, that of a candidate selected by Arrima 15 to 17 months. In practice, federal immigration applicants sometimes take more than a year and the process for those with a Certificat de sélection du Québec (CSQ) goes beyond two (2) years. The delays for processing family class applications and even officially short visitor, student and temporary worker visas, normally from a few days to a few months, now sometimes take more than 12 months.


Quebec and its particularities


While it is true that the question of extending delays concerns all immigration programs, those in Quebec are alarming. Quebec immigration applicants feel aggrieved by the fact that they have to meet more requirements but paradoxically wait longer to get their application processed. For immigration under the Canadian Experience category, the temporary resident must have at least one year of professional experience, while in Quebec, according to last year’s reforms, two will be needed. While the processing of the candidate’s request for Canadian Experience will take 6 months to 1 year or a little more in practice, the candidate in the Quebec Experience category will have to wait for two (2) years or more.


These disparities are frustrating even among Quebec employers. According to the Conseil du patronat du Québec (CPQ), tens of thousands of positions are currently available, but the policy in place does not allow the rapid arrival of labor to fill the deficits.


Possible solutions


To reverse this worsening trend of delay, several players, including the CPQ, are calling on Quebec to review its targets and even its immigration conditions. It is understood that this is a demand to increase the targets and modify certain criteria that could make the process more fluid for candidates, but also for employers who expect labor that is slow to come.


Several of the other provinces are moving to a digitalized system to reduce paper demands. It could also probably speed up the processing of the increasing requests they receive.


The most important news in relation to solutions remains the statement by the spokesperson for the Minister of Immigration. He announced that the federal government wants to create a new digital platform to process immigration applications faster; the current system would without a doubt have revealed these flaws in the face of the pandemic. A budget of 429 million dollars already defined for this project will be devoted to it over the next five years.


You are caught in the trap of long delays, what to do?


You have been waiting for months or even years to get your work or study permit; You have your application for family class or permanent residence lingering; You may also be responsible for this situation. The errors made in the creation and submission of your file can be the cause of the delays you observe. Please contact us. We can help you better understand and resolve your situation. We can also help you avoid recurring mistakes made by immigration candidates. We have the experience and the skills to support you and make sure your project is a success.

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