Canada is leaving some would-be immigrants waiting just to hear whether their application has been received

More accounts on backlogs, processing delays and lack of communication:

When Manmeet Kaur applied to sponsor her newlywed husband to come from India to join her in Canada, it seemed like a no-brainer to submit the application online rather than to send the paperwork by courier.

Electronic application through new government portals was supposed to be faster and keep important documents — such as wedding photos and personal identification — from getting lost in the process or mixed up with others’ files.

And so, Kaur applied last September.

As she watched applicants she had met through social media groups, and who had applied around the same time, start to get their acknowledgment of receipt, better known as their “AOR,” the Brampton woman says, she expected that immigration officials would soon open her e-application and that her day would come.

She says she got nervous when others who had applied months after her were getting their AOR, which is only issued once a thorough check by officials ensures an application is complete — with no missing forms, documents and signatures. That’s when an applicant receives a file number and the actual processing starts.

“Many of the September applicants have gotten their passport requests and decisions made in January and February. While we’re still waiting for our AORs, some already have their spouses with them. Now January and February applicants are getting their AORs, too,” said Kaur, 27, a medical lab technician, who last saw her husband in India in July.

“The people who applied first should get processed first. I completely understand each file is different and some take longer than others. But we are talking about just checking if an application is complete or not. It should make no difference. Now, we’re lagging further and further behind.”

Few other federal services have seen so much disruption as the immigration system during the pandemic, with the operation grinding to a halt; staff working remotely with antiquated infrastructure; and travel restricted for newcomers abroad due to border closures.

Source: Canada is leaving some would-be immigrants waiting just to hear whether their application has been received

About Andrew
Andrew blogs and tweets public policy issues, particularly the relationship between the political and bureaucratic levels, citizenship and multiculturalism. His latest book, Policy Arrogance or Innocent Bias, recounts his experience as a senior public servant in this area.

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