The Fifth Labour of Hercules
By: Robert Young
In my last article I reported that as of October 27, 2021 Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) had a backlog of 1.8 million citizenship, temporary resident, and permanent resident applications. As of May, 2022 the total backlog was roughly 2.2 million applications (CBC News, June 9, 2022).
I also predicted that the IRB will be abandoning in person hearings forever. The IRB has now informally acknowledged that from now on virtual hearings are to be the norm. A lot has happened since my last article of February, 2022. Much of what I am reporting today (written at the end of June, 2022) will be out of date by the time you read this article.
There have been failures. In August, 2021 the government announced a special program to bring 40,000 Afghani refugees to Canada after the Taliban took over Afghanistan. As of June 17, 2022 less than 16,000 Afghanis have made it here. The special programs for Ukrainians though, have been a success. There are going to be essentially two programs for Ukrainians. One, already in motion, is the program to give them special visas to come here as temporary residents. This is an important distinction from the Afghanistan program. The Afghanis are coming as refugees and thereby permanent residents. Ukrainians are coming only as temporary residents. They are being given visitor visas valid for up to 10 years. When they arrive here, they are given open work permits and study permits valid for up to three years. If they wish to study at a post-secondary level, they have to pay their tuition out of their own pocket. They are, though, given emergency accommodation upon arrival in Ontario, a one-time payment of $3,000.00 per adult and $1,500.00 per child, and are eligible for OHIP.
The other program is supposed to be a program giving expanded sponsorship rights. Canadians or Canadian permanent residents who have an expanded class of Ukrainian family members will be allowed to sponsor them. Right now, that is just a promise. Whether there will indeed be any special pathways for permanent residence for Ukrainians is yet to be seen.
In September, 2021 without telling anyone, IRCC essentially closed the Express Entry system. The Express Entry system is a filter or control limit imposed on the economic categories for migration. Without telling anyone, the Ministry stopped giving Invitations To Apply for people applying for permanent residence in three of the four main Economic Class application streams. The Ministry felt it had to stop issuing Invitations To Apply because it had so mishandled the Express Entry system in 2020 and 2021 that a backlog of cases had built up in their system. This is especially ironic given that the Express Entry system was purposely built to limit intake into the Economic Class categories so that backlogs could not develop. There is a promise that the Express Entry system will start issuing Invitations To Apply to these orphaned Economic Class categories starting in “July” but even then the number of applications that will be processed is expected to be half of historic levels. There is presently a Bill before the Senate (Bill C-19) which if passed will give the Minister the authority to invite Express Entry candidates “by occupation, language ability, intended destination, or any other group that supports Canada’s economic goals” to, in essence, cherry pick categories of applicants. God protect us from the wisdom of Ottawa mandarins.
In April, the government announced that sometime this year people in Canada whose postgraduate work permits expired or are expiring in 2022, will be allowed to extend their work permits for up to 18 more months. When will the program open? Don’t know. What will it look like? Who is eligible? How do they qualify? Don’t know. No one is telling us details.
The Minister of Citizenship and Immigration is also promising to reopen a special pathway to permanent resident status called the Temporary Resident to Permanent Resident Pathway. I talked about this program in my last article. The program essentially opened and closed in 24 hours in 2021. The applicant had to be in Canada when they applied. It allowed people who had a Canadian post-secondary degree or diploma and were working in Canada, or someone who was working in what was deemed to be an essential occupation, or someone who had good French language skills, to apply for permanent residence. Details of this program might be released in the first week of September, at least that is what the Minister is hinting. This Minister has a bad habit of announcing legislation by Tweet. The only advice I can give anyone wanting to apply under this category is to keep their eyes on IRCC’s web site and to get a language test done by IELTS or CELPIP right away. Proof that you have passed a language test is sure to be a mandatory requirement of the “new” program.
Starting July 4, 2022, holders of parent super visas will be allowed to stay up to five years per entry into Canada. This is up from two years per entry.
In December, 2022 or January, 2023 the Immigration Appeal Division rules will probably change. One key change has to do with disclosure of evidence and witness lists. Currently, disclosure has to be made at least 20 days before the appeal is heard. In the future it will be within 45 days after the appellant receives the appeal record. Evidence that arose after this point must be served at least 30 days before the appeal. The practical effect of this rule change will mean: a) that tons of relevant and reliable evidence will be excluded at appeal on a procedural point, and; b) that my disclosure will be sitting in a filing cabinet in Toronto unlooked at and ignored for longer periods of time than at present.
Robert W. Young is certified by the Law Society of Ontario as a Specialist in Citizenship and Immigration Law, and practices with Robert W. Young & Associate.
He can be reached at:
Robert W. Young & Associate
203 – 180 James Street South
Hamilton, ON L8P 4V1
Tel: (289) 799-6400
Email: [email protected]