“It would be a tragedy, to wait five years in line only to discover that at the time you submitted your application you somehow fell short.”
In the “good old days” — that is, maybe 10 years or so ago — representing clients who were applying under Canada’s skilled worker category was a pleasure.
The program was the backbone of the immigration department’s contribution to nation-building. Applications in this category were well received and enthusiastically processed within about a year.
Counsel representing these clients assessed their client’s qualifications against a selection grid and assigned the points mandated by the regulations. When the applications were filed, the points were “locked-in” and the applicant was protected from any changes in the selection criteria that occurred after the application was filed. Success was easily predicted.
Then the situation changed. Why it changed is a question I won’t go into here. But change it did. Now, officers don’t seem to be focused on nation-building anymore. They seem to be more interested in finding new grounds for refusal than in finding ways to help applicants overcome possible obstacles to a successful application.
Furthermore, applications are taking, on average, more than five years to process. In 20 per cent of the cases, it takes even longer than that.
Now when an application is submitted, the forms, reference letters, bank statements and so on just sit there for almost five years before an officer looks at it for the first time.
When they do, the first thing they ask is for the applicant to update all of the now outdated forms and supporting documents. Well, no more.
The department has just announced that effective Sept. 1, a “simplified application process” will be implemented for most applicants. Eligible applicants will simply need to submit a basic three-page form and the appropriate fee. No supporting documents are to be included initially. This will “guarantee your place in the processing queue.”
When the application is ready to be considered, the visa post will ask for supporting documentation. This will save applicants and their counsel a lot of duplicate work but will not necessarily make the applications go any faster.
For those who may be thinking of foregoing legal advice until such time as their turn comes up, I would say that’s a bad idea. The department warns that, “You must meet all of the criteria at the time you submit your application.” It would be a tragedy, to wait five years in line only to discover that at the time you submitted your application you somehow fell short. Proper legal advice can prevent this.
Guidy Mamann is the senior lawyer at Mamann & Associates and is certified by the Law Society as an immigration specialist. Reach him at 416-862-0000. Direct confidential questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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