Permanent residents waiting to immigrate to Canada
Aashray Kovi refreshes his email several times a day, hoping to get good news from Canadian immigration officials.
The 28-year-old computer programmer living in Bangalore, India, is one of approximately 23,000 aspiring immigrants who are holding expired or about to expire documents waiting to enter Canada.
“This is really frustrating for all of us,” said Kovi, who planned to settle in Ottawa but was unable to travel because his permanent residence (COPR) confirmation document expired in early June before the travel restrictions were lifted.
At the end of last month, the federal government lifted some COVID-19 restrictions and allowed anyone with valid COPR to enter Canada, but this did not help Kovi’s case.
Although the immigration process started in 2018, Kovi said that before that, he had never tried to get a clear answer from the government. He said that he had been waiting for the re-issuance of the documents for several weeks via email and telephone, but was not lucky enough to get a reply when he could arrive in Ottawa.
Watch | Waiting to enter Canada:
Kovi said: “I know it’s not easy. With COVID, the only problem with all this is lack of communication.”
“If there is better communication, I can wait until 2022, but this puts my life in a difficult position.”
Sameer Masih and his wife and son were also trapped in an almost empty apartment in New Delhi seven months after obtaining preliminary approval and starting to sell the property.
“I actually survived on minimal settings,” Masih said. He said the waiting cost him a job at the employer’s Toronto office.
‘It’s hard for my family’
Sophie Ballesteros from Barcelona got a job in Halifax, and her husband Carlos resigned from his position in January and plans to move To Canada. For the couple, the delay was devastating and they started their immigration process in November 2019.
Carlos said that he resigned because the permanent residence invitation told him to take care of his affairs. He felt that he only had a certain time to immigrate, otherwise he would lose his dream of moving to Canada.
Their COPR file also expired in June, and there is no word on when it will be updated.
The only information they received from the government was in March, when a general e-mail informed them that the previous information had been received and they needed to wait.
“This is the first time in my life I am unemployed,” Carlos said. “I don’t sleep at night.”
Sophie said that while she was staying in Canada in Barcelona, ??she was trying to immerse herself in her new digital marketing work in Canada and also trying to find a kindergarten for her four-year-old daughter.
“I have to work in a Canadian time zone, and sometimes some customers are from Vancouver,” she said. “It’s difficult for my family.”
A spokesperson for Immigration Minister Marco Mendicino acknowledged that global immigration is a problem for many people and officials are working hard to help permanent residency holders enter the country.
“We know that these interruptions have had a significant impact on many people who wish to start a new life in Canada, and we thank them for their patience at this difficult time,” Alexander Cohen said in a statement.
Kyle Hyndman, an immigration lawyer in Vancouver, estimates that more than half of those with expired COPR documents are skilled workers who have been selected to “contribute to the Canadian labor market.”
He said that the federal government’s communication has been chaotic. He said that by sending out documents that will expire to new residents and instructing them on how to handle their affairs, it creates a sense of time-sharing work.
Heideman said: “These people are in a holding mode…you have done a lot of things to prepare for action, and these things are difficult to undo.”
Cohen said the pandemic has severely affected immigration processing time, and the government will contact individuals with expired documents “in the coming weeks and months.”
Canada allowed 184,000 immigrants last year-the lowest level since 1998-compared to 341,000 in 2019. Designed to initiate immigration 400,000 new residents will be added every year in the next three years.