Dear government officials:
Another week has passed with no progress made for Inland sponsorship files – as of today, the processing time is still sitting at July 30, 2013, it’s been the same situation for the past several weeks, and more than half a year now since March 2014, CIC has only processed applications received in July 2013, putting thousand Canadian families in financial and emotional limbo.
There was an article written by Lawyer David Cohen, who has first-hand experiences with the Inland process, published on the well-known immigration website canadavisa.com on August 14, 2014 that is worth your time reading:
Punishing Spousal Sponsors - By Lawyer David Cohen
A spokesperson for Immigration Minister Chris Alexander recently boasted that “Canada has one of the most generous family reunification programs in the world”. Maybe so, but don’t ask Canadian citizens and permanent residents, who are sponsoring their foreign national spouses, to second that opinion, especially those caught in the quagmire of the in-Canada sponsorship process.
The current immigration regulations permit a foreign national spouse to be inside or outside Canada during the sponsorship process, so long as, in the former case, the foreign national is already legally in Canada when the process begins.
In the past year, Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) has doubled the processing time on inland applications and there is feeling among many of the individuals affected that the additional delay has been manufactured. At best, it is seen by some as a deterrent to utilizing the inland option and, at worst, it may be a signal that CIC soon intends to put an end to the in-Canada sponsorship option.
Spousal sponsorship is a two-stage process for both in-Canada and outside-Canada applications. The first stage always occurs in Canada and it involves an assessment of the Canadian sponsor’s eligibility. The second stage is about assessing the foreign national and it includes health and criminal clearances. Last year, the first stage of inland applications was taking six months to complete and it now takes eleven months. To put this in perspective, the first stage of outside Canada applications is being completed in less than two months. There is no difference in the work being done. It’s purely a policy decision.
For in-Canada applicants, completion of the first stage of the process is significant. It is only then that the foreign national spouse is entitled to a work permit and a provincial health card. The longer wait is more than an inconvenience; it causes financial and emotional hardship. It doesn’t have to be this way. Canada grants open work permits to the spouses of international students and many temporary foreign workers, right from the moment they enter Canada. Nobody is saying this is wrong, but what is available to temporary foreign residents with few ties to Canada should also be given to spouses of Canadian citizens and permanent residents. After all, they are residents-in-waiting. Why punish them for doing what the regulations allow?
There was a Canadian mother-in-law, who wrote: “The delay appears to be a tool used by the government to deter people from applying for inland spousal sponsorship. It is extremely difficult for these couples, especially if they have children, to make ends meet financially on one income and the lack of accessible health care the system puts vulnerable people at risk. It appears that the current position of the federal government is biased against Canadians who meet, fall in love and marry someone within Canada. I watched a video on the Minister of Immigrations website and found the propaganda offensive. It does not reflect the relationship of my son and his wife. This fear mongering must not continue and each applicant deserves timely service and fair evaluation based on the merit of their application.”
There have been countless miserable stories shared on the Internet about how this irresponsible delay has damaged the Canadian families that are directly involved. They are Canadian-born sponsors feeling betrayed by their own country when they see their hard-earned tax dollars used to fund for different immigration streams that brings in and provide health coverage for temporary foreign workers and their accompanying spouses, and the Canadians have to pay out of their pockets for their sponsored spouses, or for delivery of their newborn children right in Canadian health facilities. They are the sponsored spouses that are forced to sit at home and watch life move on outside because they are made to believe it is a mercy from Canadian government for the Inland sponsored spouses to be with their Canadian spouses while waiting. Many of them are very talented, capable individuals. Many of them are PhD, health specialists, artists, economists from all over the world, coming to Canada to be with their loved ones and hope that they will be able to work and to contribute to Canadian society, but what this government has done to them make them feel so insulted.
I urge you to wake up and have this issue addressed immediately. By neglecting this issue, you are telling Canadians and the world that Canadian government doesn’t care much about family values, doesn’t bother to review unreasonable immigration policies, and doesn’t want to admit your problems.
If you cannot make things right for your own citizens, your own country, nobody would be convinced that Canada is a big player in the international human rights activities, a peace keeper, and a democratic nation.