Culling Immigration Cases, Reducing the Backlog of Immigration Applicants to Canada
By Author: Max Chaudhary | March 30, 2012
Immigration Canada’s news release of March 30 2012 is couched in economic efficiency. The title (“Government of Canada transforms economic immigration program”) mentions other economic benefits such as “…a fast and flexible immigration system that creates jobs and promotes Canada’s long term prosperity.”
It adopts a corporate globalized flair when it promises Canadians a, “just-in-time system that recruits people with the right skills to meet Canada’s labour market needs”.
In fact, this announcement is at the cost of the approximately 280,000 applicants who applied under the pre February 2008 system. They are promised a refund (“CIC will begin the process of returning the full amount of fees paid to the Department by these affected FSW applicants). However, the press release does not state that the interest accrued by the government will also be paid back to these applicants who have had their applications sitting in a government filing cabinet for eight years or longer.
The sentence, “To create a fast and flexible immigration system that creates jobs and promotes Canada’s long term prosperity” is a lie; the system shall likely be transformed to cater to corporate-dictated short term economic needs. No effort is being made to use government levers to import workers who have skills to facilitate true long term economic development in growing such as in “green jobs“.
The Minister of Immigration knows that there no domestic constituency who in local Canadian parlance “gives a crap” about foreigners being lied to by Canada’s immigration department and misled about the process. There is no political downside to the Canadian government meting out harsh unfair measures to foreign nationals.
As such, the only course of action for those 280000 applicants whose cases shall be culled would be proceeding en masse to the Federal court of Canada for a mandamus application. In the best case scenario, this would lead to a temporary court order delaying the enactment of proposed legislation until the court decides whether the 280000 cases should be processed in accordance with fairness (i.e. in accordance with the law that was in effect when those 280000 people submitted their applications to Canada’s Immigration department). The court would presumably agree that the actions of the government were unfair and would order that the cases be processed under the law that was in effect at the time such cases were first received.
The Minister of Immigration upon receiving notice of the federal court action by some of Canada’s immigration lawyers will predictably call us part of “the immigration industry lobby” –obscuring the fact that lawyers’ duties include the safeguarding of their client’s legal interests. Similarly, he has in the past attacked the Federal court of Canada for doing its job – adjudicating on the process of government processes such as immigration decisions.
Although it is conceded that something should be done about the backlog, other options could have been considered such as accepting no new immigration applications until the old ones were disposed of (i.e. “first in first out”), adding more visa officers to deal with the backlog, or more bolder options such as offering work permits to select high skill workers (if the local labour market is not affected) who are already sitting in the backlog (which would acclimatize those motivated applicants to work in Canada).