Up to five months of waiting for you to visit Canada

Canada is facing unprecedented delays in allowing visitors who need a visa, and it is taking up to five months to process an application in some countries, which shows the collection Should. It is also said that Ottawa has quietly, without refund, abandoned visitor visa applications submitted during the pandemic.

“It’s really frustrating. I can’t explain why it took so long,” says Patricia Nobudu, who was contacted in Nigeria.

The real estate and technology entrepreneur has a relationship of delays and disappointments with Canada. She has been waiting nearly seven years for final approval of her permanent residence application under the Quebec Investor Program.

In the meantime, she came to discover Montreal and learn about potential business partners with the help of a first visitor visa obtained in less than a month in 2015. Then, in November 2020, she wanted to do the same by submitting another visitor visa application. Still no news after nearly two years of waiting.

According to the data you collected dutyNigeria is among the countries with disastrous records when it comes to delays, with a wait of 156 days for a visitor visa.

Many applicants for temporary residence permits must be patient, because in addition to the difficulty of issuing passports to its citizens in a timely manner, the federal government struggles to issue immigration documents to foreign citizens.

Canada Apply for a visitor visaEuros for 147 countries. European countries, the United States, some rich countries such as Australia or Japan, as well as Latin American countries were excluded from the list. However, a citizen of the country for which Canada requires a visa can apply in the country in which it is located, such as an African residing in Europe. In some parts of the world, the average administrative processing time is skyrocketing. Saudi Arabia wins the award for worst delay with 219 days of waiting. Benin (177 days), Pakistan and India (152 days) follow not far behind.

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“More than three or four months of waiting for a visitor visa is unacceptable,” condemns Stephanie Valois, president of the Association of Lawyers and Advocates in Immigration Law (AQAADI).

Unacceptable delays

For 105 countries, the majority of the world, administrative processing times are more than two months, according to a compilation duty In July based According to estimates published on the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) website.. By contrast, applications filed in the UK, Norway, Suriname or Finland are processed in standard 10-20 days.

This country metric is measured based on the time it took to process 80% of applications in the past two to four months. The time shown does not take into account the time it takes the applicant to compile their file or submit other documents, such as their biometric data.

‘Other countries have been able to provide [leurs visas] In a week. “That’s an order of magnitude more we’re talking about,” says angry immigration attorney Benjamin Pronott, who cautions, however, that the deadlines offered do not always match what he actually observes. In general, the problem of long immigration delays is not due to the pandemic, he said. But COVID-19 has compounded the chaos, and inefficiency that’s been around for years. »

Vishal Basra, who has permanent residence in Canada, was surprised by the delay his parents experienced in obtaining visitor visas after they applied on January 16 from New Delhi, India. “First of all, estimate the time on the site [d’IRCC] He said 100 days. says the 28-year-old software engineer, who helped them.

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It finally took four months for his parents to get the visas, at the beginning of July, after taking their biometrics data at the end of February.

“This delay surprised me, it was a shock,” he said. My parents have a long history of traveling to the United States, New Zealand, Australia, the Middle East and Singapore. It didn’t take long at all. We did not expect such a delay. »

Files forgotten

The published deadlines will be inflated in part due to the unofficial abandonment of a large number of visitor visa applications submitted before September 7, 2021, the US State Department said. Should Two sources work in the Canadian Diplomatic Network. It will be impossible to catch up with the backlog caused by the epidemic’s administrative chaos.

While waiting for the visitor visa she applied for last year, Patricia Nobudo was surprised to learn that the embassy was inviting everyone who applied during the pandemic to reapply. “I had to start over,” the Nigerian said wistfully.

Officially the Canadian government Instead of inviting these applicants to apply again, without repayment, if” [leur] The situation has changed” for a full list of reasons, listed on its website.

“It makes no sense,” says a Canadian diplomat working abroad, who asked not to be named because he was not authorized to speak publicly on the issue. “When you look at the website, it’s not clear. They don’t treat them [vieilles] requests. Let them say it! »

Although IRCC manages immigration files independently, embassies receive a “large number of complaints” from foreign nationals who have received no news of their applications after months of waiting.

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Federal Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Sean Fraser denies the practice of stopping processing old applications.

“We continue to process applications in stock. Older applications may take longer to process due to their complexity, due to documents and information that may be outdated, and changes in applicants’ personal circumstances,” said Aidan Strickland, the bureau’s press officer, in an email.

Conference Effects

This situation is hampering the access of 600 African specialists to an important international conference on AIDS organized in Montreal, starting July 29, who have not yet received their visas this week.

Dr. explains.s Jean-Pierre Rutte, professor of medicine at McGill University and co-chair of the conference.

He fears: “If people don’t meet face to face, if we talk about it less, if we don’t have political pressure, then the money given by major international organizations to fight AIDS could go elsewhere.”

The federal government now says it is prioritizing visitor visas to attend the conference.

In the first four months of 2022, IRCC approved more than 1 million applications for temporary residence out of 1.4 million applications received. In the case of visitor visas, the department pledges to take steps to reduce processing times, such as appointing about 500 officials to process and digitize applications and completely redistribute the work between its offices around the world.

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