A French family who recently became permanent residents is stranded in their home country and unable to return to Canada after a vacation due to card printing delays.
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“We had confirmation in June that we were permanent residents, but we were not allowed to return to the territory [canadien]As we have not printed our card yet [qui officialise la décision] “, laments Frédéric Brett, who moved to Quebec in July 2018 with his wife Karine Arnaud and their two daughters Lena, 17, and Julia, 13.
Taking a vacation in France this summer to find relatives he hadn’t seen in more than three years, the family could no longer return to the country. However, the Canadian government grants permanent residency to its members.
“The problem is that you have to apply for an ‘Electronic Travel Authorization’ to fly. When you’re a permanent resident, you don’t have to do this, you have to present a resident card that you haven’t received yet, so it gets blocked,” the mother explains.
A holiday that turns into a nightmare
In 2021, after three years on Canadian soil, the family from Vaucluse in southeastern France decided to submit an application for permanent residency.
Once the file is complete, the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) website tells them they should receive a response by October 2023, Ms. Arnaud explained.
“We basically organize our lives around this date,” said Mr. Brett, who works at a car dealership in Quebec.
Given the processing times, there was no indication that their holiday from February would turn into a nightmare.
But against all expectations, the processing of their application suddenly accelerated and this is why they got their new status in June.
“Normally, when the decision is made, it can take four to six weeks to print the card, so we have to be right. But the person in charge of our file didn’t verify our photos, so the cards still haven’t gone to print,” sighed Mr Brett.
Work visas are still valid
An IRCC agent told Mr. via telephone last week that he and his family members did not have cards until 9/11. Brett was reportedly warned.
“The crazy thing is, if we didn’t have permanent residency in June, we would have returned to Quebec with our work visas valid until 2024,” said Ms. Arnaud explained.
Because of the situation, everyone is afraid of losing their jobs if they don’t return soon.
“We have everything in Quebec! We have our house, our cat, the four of us work and our daughters go to school here,” said the couple, who are now questioning their migration.
Immigration, Refugees, Citizenship Canada did not respond to our request for an interview.
Inconsistencies and delays in the processing of files by Immigration, Refugees, Citizenship Canada (IRCC) are causing significant delays that can have serious consequences for applicants.
“Delays everywhere in immigration for residency, citizenship or humanitarianism are really problematic. It creates problems, real problems, in people’s lives,” laments Stephanie Valois, lawyer and president of the Quebec Association of Immigration Lawyers.
After failure to process files for passports, airports or employment insurance benefits, the federal government is not speeding up or holding up immigration applications.
It is impossible for thousands of applicants to know what their future holds.
According to the IRCC website, the H&C application can take up to 20 months.
For work permit applications, processing may take longer than five months if the individual is in Canada and submits the application electronically. However, the period is reduced to 10 weeks if the same request is made from France for “urgent” employment such as health workers.
Applying for citizenship can take up to 26 months.
And even for Canadians, even today, passport applications still experience significant delays of 10 days to 13 weeks.
In addition to the delays, Me Valois alleged that files sent to IRCC were treated in a completely random manner.
“We realize that older files are kept aside, but more recent files are considered first,” she said.
Result: People who submitted a file in 2021 may have already received a response, but requests made in 2020 have no news from Immigration.
But it is impossible to know how the cabinet works.
“That doesn’t make sense! At first it was because of Afghanistan, then because of Covid… but everyone was able to adapt and work”, she says.