Canadian Family Separated by Bureaucratic Red Tape
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Our family has been separated for the better part of two years, with Zaid (husband/Daddy) working in Canada and Lindsay (wife/Mommy) along with our two children, Abel and Malaika being stuck in Uganda.
After our adoptions were finalized in May, 2018 we immediately applied for Part II citizenship for the kids as well as visitor visas (both were sent to Dar es Salaam, Tanzania Canadian High Commission) as per the direction of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). After three months of waiting the first applications for visitor visas were denied. We were told again by IRCC to apply for visitor visas online and that they would pull the applications and handle them directly in Ottawa. Instead the applications were sent to yet another Canadian High Commission, this time in Nairobi. Now after another 2 months (total of 5.5 months since first submission) we have been informed that the visitor visa applications have been resent to the Canadian High Commission in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.
Since before the kids even came home IRCC has been telling us that citizenship in Uganda can take up to 6-8 months for processing following adoptions and that in the interim visitors visas would be easily obtained so the children could travel to Canada shortly after adoption. Now IRCC has issued a statement to the press saying that citizenship can take up to 2 years or more to process. However we have been informed by members of the High Commission that this 2 year time period is measured from the start of the Part I citizenship application, which for us began in January 2017. They are also not giving any reason for the delay in visitor visas other than that it is not going to be issued until citizenship is verified. Why would we need visitor visas if we have citizenship, and why would IRCC instruct us to apply for visitor visas if they are not granted in situations like this? This miscommunication has cost us a total of more than 800 CAD for the two rounds of applications.
What we are asking with this petition is four-fold:
1) That we be issued travel permits/visitor visas for our children so that we can celebrate Christmas together as a family in Canada.
2) That the children's Citizenship papers be processed according to the time line given by IRCC since August 2016, and according to the timeline currently being given by the Canadian Consulate in Kampala (6-8 months). Two years is an unacceptable amount of time to process these applications. We made decisions as a family based on the time frame given before adoptions took place and we can not be expected to wait 4 times this long while IRCC processes these applications.
3) Change has to happen in the Canadian High Commissions across the world when prioritization of visa processing occurs. Minors belonging to Canadian citizens should have priority over immigrants or refugees that have no ties to our country.
4) IRCC needs to implement an adoption visa, similar to basically every other developed nation. This visa would be provided to all internationally adopted children and would not have an expiration on it. It would end when citizenship or PR is granted. The children would receive all the rights and privileges of a citizen (just as refugees are given) since their parents are CANADIANS.
There are far too many families getting tied up in the red tape that surrounds the current IRCC protocols for international adoptions. Every office gives different answers or no answers at all and our citizens are being trapped in other countries with their children. Often this results in lost employment, financial downfalls, emotional strain in families, and psychological trauma for the children as well as the parents.
Canada needs to start fighting for its citizens. Reform of current IRCC protocols needs to be seen. Accurate and consistent information needs to be given to potential adoptive parents BEFORE pursuance of adoptions. CANADIANS NEED TO BE MADE A PRIORITY.
PLEASE HELP TO BRING US HOME FOR CHRISTMAS. Please sign the petition and help reunite our family while also ensuring that other families don't get trapped in this same nightmare in the future.
~Abel, Malaika, Zaid and Lindsay Aboud
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