Canada has long been known for its welcoming and inclusive society, and for many people around the world, it is the most desirable place to live. With its robust economy, high standard of living, and excellent quality of life, it’s no surprise that Canada attracts millions of immigrants every year. However, despite its many strengths, the country’s immigration system is facing significant challenges that are threatening to undermine its reputation as a top destination for people seeking a better life.
Experts Claim: Canada’s once Fair and Competent Immigration system is now Broken
In this article, +1 News will be interviewing two Canadian Immigration Professionals with a wealth of experience in the industry, in order to obtain some insight on the current state of the Canadian Immigration system, the challenges faced by applicants and their recommendations to improve the newcomers experience.
Record Applications, Record Delays
In 2022, IRCC (Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada) processed a record number of permanent residence, temporary residence, and citizenship applications, totalling 5.2 million. Despite these efforts, the backlogs have only been reduced to 2.1 million, and many applicants are still waiting for their applications to be processed after months or even years of waiting.
“The System is Just Too Complex”
Steven J. Paolasini is a Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant (RCIC) with over four years of experience in the field. He believes that the immigration system is too complex and contributes to job fraud.
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According to Steven, businesses are suffering as they are unable to get the workers they need for several months or even years, and smart minds are stuck in a limbo, unable to use their abilities in a positive way.
“The System is Broken and Biased”
An anonymous immigration expert, who agreed to speak with us on the condition of anonymity, shares Steven’s assessment of the system. We will refer to them as ‘Whistleblower’ in this article.
This expert, who has over five years of experience in the field, believes that the system has become biased and extremely racist. They shared several examples of clients whose applications were unfairly refused based on their nationality, despite having the same qualifications as those who were approved.
“All you’re praying for, is that your application doesn’t get assigned to an officer who looks at you differently based on which part of the world you were born in”
Impacts on the Canadian Economy
The impacts of these delays are far-reaching, affecting not only the applicants themselves but also the Canadian economy as a whole. With a declining birth rate and an aging workforce, immigration is essential for filling critical labor gaps and ensuring long-term growth.
“Future Immigrants will see IRCC’s failures and choose our competitors over us, and that will be an Economical disaster.”
According to Steven, if the immigration system continues to fail, future immigrants will choose other countries over Canada, which will have a disastrous impact on the economy.
Lack of Communication and Accountability
Steven & Whistleblower both shared common concerns in regards to the lack of communication and transparency with the Immigration Refugees & Citizenship Canada.
From the many ‘Horror’ stories of her clients, Whistleblower shared this one specific story:
“I had a case, where a client had found a worker who they wanted to sponsor. The worker was intended to be employed as a tile setter and was present in Canada on a valid work permit. We requested for the interim work authorization under public policy to change employers while waiting for the application to be approved, and IRCC issued the interim work authorization for the spouse instead of the principal applicant. This left the employer without the worker he so desperately needed.”
At the time of writing this article the principal is still waiting for his new work permit. It has ONLY been 5.5 months.
One of the key issues with the current immigration system is the lack of communication and accountability. Despite IRCC’s claims to have invited over 437,000 permanent residents in 2022, many applicants are left in the dark about the status of their applications and are unable to contact the processing officers assigned to their cases. This leaves them in a state of uncertainty, not knowing whether their applications will be approved or not, or when it will even reach an active office’s desk.
What Needs to be Done to Improve the System
Both Steven and the anonymous expert Whistleblower offered suggestions on how to improve the system, including implementing a priority processing service for urgent matters, automating the work permit approval process, and reforming the culture within IRCC to be more accommodating and welcoming to applicants.
Q- Whistleblower, what do you think should be done on IRCC’s behalf to fix these issues?
Whistleblower- “I think the Immigration system needs a complete reform, a change that benefits our Economy and the changing needs of the labour market. Current system in place is clearly failing Canadians and businesses across Canada. When a business is able to find a worker for themselves and go through the entire sponsorship process, I think IRCC must ensure everything on their behalf is done with high priority to get that worker on board as soon as possible”
Steven added, “There should be a priority processing service available. Someone should be able to pay an extra amount of money to get their application reviewed within a few days time. That extra processing fee collected can be used towards further system developments and technical advancements.”
“I think we also need a complete reform of the culture within IRCC, we need to have an ideology that if someone is willing to make Canada their home, we should be accommodating and welcome them with open arms, instead of processing officers just desperately trying to find a reason to refuse your application. If something is missing or incomplete, officers should be working with the applicants to obtain those documents. This is a great step towards improving accountability and communication, which are two big issues we are currently facing with IRCC.”
Canada’s immigration system is at a crossroads. With a backlog of over 2 million applications and growing frustration among applicants, the country must take decisive action to address the systemic issues plaguing its immigration system. Whether through the implementation of new policies and processes, or the adoption of a more welcoming and accommodating attitude towards immigrants, the future of Canada’s immigration system is at stake, and it is up to the government and its citizens to take the necessary steps to ensure that it remains one of the most desirable places to live in the world.