North Island-Powell River MP Rachel Blaney is raising constituents’ concerns about processing backlogs at Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).
Blaney wrote Sean Fraser, the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship on Feb. 17, raising concerns from her constituents about the delays in visa and permanent residency applications since the beginning of the pandemic.
“This backlog needs to be addressed immediately as processing delays in all immigration streams are causing severe consequences in many peoples’ lives,” wrote Blaney.
Issues outlined in the letter include:
– Constituents submitting applications and not receiving any form of acknowledgement of receipt
– Families being kept apart for extensive periods of time and during crucial moments in their lives such as the birth of children
– Constituents not being able to work therefore experiencing extensive financial hardship
– Constituents dealing with constant fear that they will be deported as they await their approvals
– Constituents missing opportunities for work permits as employers require confirmation of the employee’s current status
– Students missing out on education grants because of a lack of documentation to support their applications
– Applicants receiving notice of approvals then still experiencing delays in finally receiving their papers
– Local small business owners lacking the staff to keep their businesses going in addition to having to deal with the pandemic burdens they are already experiencing.
“Of additional concern, my constituency office staff and I are limited in our access to inquiry services within the IRCC,” she wrote in the letter. “Frustration with the cap of five case inquiries per day adds to the challenge of helping constituents.”
Blaney outlined that delays, well past the prescribed timeline for various application types, are resulting in lost employment and education opportunities, staffing challenges for small businesses, prolonged family separation during crucial moments such as the birth of children, and significant anxiety and financial hardship.
“In all my time dealing with immigration issues, I have never seen delays like what we’re seeing now,” said Blaney, who served as Executive Director for the Immigrant Welcome Centre prior to being elected as MP in 2015.