John McCallum, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship has been facing intense pressure at recent national caucus meetings from Liberal MPs. McCallum has been asked to address the issue of processing times of immigration applications, which in some family class applications cases is taking over six years.
In the last two national caucus meetings in January, about 20 MPs spoke up. Liberal MPs told Mr. McCallum that, up until the last election, the conservatives were to blame for the long processing delays.
According to Liberal sources, Canadians are demanding to know what the Liberals will do to speed up the processing times. While Liberal MPs recognize that Mr. McCallum and the Immigration Department is focused on the Syrian refugees file, they also want swift action on other Immigration issues.
The high-profile Syrian refugee file has both domestic and international ramifications and Minister McCallum and the Immigration Department have been in the media spotlight for months.
During the caucus meetings, the minister and his departmental officials conducted a briefing for MPs about the causes of the delay and introduced them to some departmental resources that can help MPs in serving their constituents on immigration files.
The Immigration application processing times vary within categories including family class, economic class, refugee and humanitarian and compassionate classes. Canada admits about 260,000 immigrants each year under all categories. Statistics show that in 2014, 66,661 received Canadian immigration in the ‘family class’, 165,089 in the ‘economic class’ and 23,286 in the ‘refugee class’.
During interviews conducted recently, Liberal MPs said almost 60-70 per cent of their constituency work is immigration related and specifically for family class applications.
The minister has acknowledged that immigration processing is a “mess,” and is said to be working on a plan to address the issue which will be announced in the coming weeks. Canadians and their family members continue to wait.
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