Legal association in Canada has urged the government to take measures for speeding up the processing of applications for immigration. Mark Holthe, chair of the immigration law section of the Canada Bar Association(CBA) wrote a letter to Federal Immigration Minister Marco Mendicino urging to upgrade and modernise the application management system for Canada immigration.
The letter pointed out that visa officers were working from home in the wake of the pandemic and in-person meetings with visa applicants were being cancelled. All these lead to backlogs.
The letter further said that paper applications must have to be scanned and copied into the computer system of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada(IRCC). It was also said in the letter that the 'antiquated' Global Case Management System(GCMS) has to be modernised to meet the requirements in the changed circumstances.
In his letter, Holthe also pointed out the four areas which can be improved for speeding up the application processing. These were:
One of the suggestions of the Association is regarding the communication asking candidates with expired COPRs and those with permanent resident visas. As of January 5, 2021, the instructions from IRCC to these candidates say that they need not contact the IRCC but IRCC would be contacting them once their entry to Canada is approved. However, this does not clarify how long it will take this to happen. This results in more people contacting IRCC, thus increasing the wait times. So, the IRCC has been urged to make instructions in the email clearer.
Some applicants face a problem where they are not permitted to board a plane from their country of origin by the local immigration officers because the visa has expired. So the e-mail should indicate that local visa authorities may contact Government of Canada to verify the status of their visa.
The letter also urged the immigration authorities of Canada to speed up the processing of spousal visas. Earlier, it used to take only one of two months after submitting the applications to receive an acknowledgement of receipt(AOR). But now it takes nine months or longer and even beyond the 12-month processing standards. So this delay has to be ended, urged the CBA.
Another suggestion in the letter was to issue Temporary Resident Visas to Family Class applicants. The letter also urged to create new pathways for permanent residence and to increase the number of Express Entry draws. The points awarded to applicants for having Canada education or a close family member residing in the country have to be increased. Further, the IRCC should allow applications up to the age of 55 to earn points for age, suggested CBA in the letter.
The CBA further urged the government to scrap the condition in the Express Entry to have at least one year of work experience for international students who graduate from high-skilled programs such as engineering.
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