Administrative errors by Citizenship and Immigration Canada are causing major problems for prospective immigrants to Canada. The problems have come to light following a recent internal review that found a “high error rate” in application processing.
Many cases take place where candidates are receiving visas with an expiry date that had already passed. Sampan Singh, who studies at Winnipeg’s Red River College, received a new visa with the same expiry date as his old one, as a result of which he was unable to attend college while waiting for the problem to be corrected.
“I’d be breaking the law without a student visa,” he said. “My family paid $11,000 for my tuition. I’m missing this term and won’t be graduating on time.” Singh’s case had to be covered by the media before immigration officials acted to correct the problem.
In another instance, immigration officials issued a rejection letter to Jamaican national Camillio Senior that was dated earlier than the letter of acknowledgment of his immigration application.
For Chinese national De Wei Gao, Citizenship and Immigration Canada’s bureaucratic issues have put him on a track for deportation. Immigration officials claimed he failed to reply to letters requesting supporting documentation for his application, but both Gao and his lawyer insist they never received any such letters.
These are just a few of the growing number of cases in which prospective immigrants have fallen victim to the errors of Citizenship and Immigration Canada, leading some of them to gather to protest in front of Immigration Minister Chris Alexander’s constituency office in Ajax.
Applicants say their stories are backed up by the findings of a recent internal government review that found such errors are all too common in Canadian government missions. That review concluded that there was a high error rate in immigrants’ application processing.
The government’s internal reviews explain a lot. It is unacceptable that applicants have to bear the consequences for someone else’s mistakes. These errors are causing a lot of misery for a lot of people. These clerical errors can be easily remedied, but the system is so inflexible.
The processing centre that deals with temporary residence applications in Vegreville was among the immigration operation centres that came under the scrutiny of the government’s internal quality review. Out of the 996 applications processed there between Nov. 1 and Dec. 6, 2013, officials found human errors in 617 request letters sent to applicants. In most of those cases, staff had either failed to use correct form letters, or failed to mention the issue of missing documents, or had given applicants inaccurate processing timelines.
But despite these findings, Citizenship and Immigration Canada has rejected calls for an overhaul, insisting that the system is basically sound.
CIC claims to be focused on making the application processes and correspondence with clients simpler and clearer. “We have moved to a system of ensuring perfected applications are handed in at the beginning of the process. With this practice, we have been able to identify missing or invalid information earlier.”
However the evidence shows a different story.