Delayed Citizenship Applications Canada’s Bulwark against Freeloading Immigrants?!
By Author: Admin | August 6, 2013
Old codgers (at least those who require medical treatment) at times rail against the tendency of those immigrants, usually male, who immigrate to Canada, settle their family in Canada and then leave Canada, sometimes returning to the foreign job they had prior to obtaining their Canadian permanent visa. The codger’s view (sometimes found among the profoundly racist comments to on-line immigration articles), enforced by the immigration department, is that Canada’s permanent resident visa is a ‘backup’ for those immigrants working in politically unstable places, where low or no-taxes are payable and earnings high; immigrants in this scenario use a Canadian permanent visa as a ‘backup’ in the event that their work terminates due to the arbitrary political and business climate in places such as the Persian Gulf city states and other parts of Asia. Ordinarily, they work outside of Canada and then comfortably retire in Canada availing themselves of Canada’s health-care system during their retirement until they die.
Immigration Canada is on watch for the above sentiment by sending out Residency Questionnaires to citizenship applicants en masse (as well as an analogous document to persons seeking to renew their Permanent Resident Cards). The goal is to intentionally delay the processing of both the PR card and Canadian citizenship so that persons who are awaiting the result of their citizenship applications will have an additional hurdle imposed prior to getting citizenship – maintaining their permanent residence obligations (i.e. showing two out of five years of physical presence in Canada). The failure to secure an additional PR card means that even if citizenship is approved, the immigrant will be barred entry to Canada and will be unable to collect his Canadian citizenship (such scrutiny does not capture TRVexempt persons such as Brits and EU citizens). The above imposition of more forms, and delayed applications constitutes an intentional inefficiency in line with the worst bureaucratic stereotypes of government. The official excuse for this inefficiency is to maintain the integrity of Canada’s immigration laws. Of course as this inefficiency does not affect a significant amount of ordinary Canadians, no significant constituency can complain to change this and it shall remain.
As a Toronto Immigration lawyer in the trenches of Canadian immigration work, I can say that I benefit from the extra above mentioned government-imposed documentation (which is issued in a profoundly complicated format that necessitates the assistance of a lawyer like myself). As a Canadian citizen however, I am dismayed at the extraordinary scrutiny imposed on immigrants under the misguided view that immigrants are solely a burden on Canada’s health and welfare system, and allegedly give nothing back to Canada. This scrutiny is imposed in such a broad fashion as to capture those immigrants gainfully employed in Canada, who are thus undeserving of the stress of such scrutiny.
In reality, I have recently come across three immigrants who despite being entitled to OHIP, could not use it and had to return to their country of citizenship for medical care – two for complicated pregnancies, and one who had to deal with sudden paralysis; this latter person opted not to wait in Canada for 8 months for MRIs, but rather, returned to Pakistan and received immediate, and largely successful treatment – she can now walk once again. The two other clients also faced delays in testing, which were life-threatening to the health of their unborn children and thus sought more timely medical care in Eastern Europe (the analogy is the phenomenon of medical tourism to avail oneself of the latest innovations in medical treatment yet to be approved in Canada). These people had all lived in Canada and paid taxes yet could not avail themselves of the benefits of their taxes – such as Canada’s vaunted healthcare system.
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