Stress and Lost Jobs: The Long Wait for Canadian Citizenship

tiringMuhammad Khalil said with a sigh.

This father from Mauritius arrived in Canada in 2015 with his wife and four daughters, apparently desperate due to these delays and lack of information from the Canadian Immigration Service.

« Becoming Canadian is our dream. It is very important to us. We left our country to settle here. »

Quote from Mohammad Khalil

Muhammad Khalil had been a permanent resident for several years, and submitted all the documents needed to obtain Canadian citizenship in March 2019. In November of the same year, the family passed and passed the citizenship test.

But since then, there has been a radio silence on the part of the federal government.

[Après l’examen]The immigration officer told me that in three months’ time, we would have an answer to be “set” for the citizenship ceremony. Unfortunately, there was a pandemicMuhammad Khalil says:

This deadline is officially stated on the Immigration Canada website.

He adds that it is really psychological pressure. It’s unspecified, we don’t know when we’ll have this party.

Mohamed Khalil and his wife Reshma are from Mauritius. They passed their citizenship test at the end of 2019 and are waiting for their party.

Photo: Radio Canada

How do you become a Canadian citizen?

In order for immigrants to become Canadian citizens, they must meet several criteria. As a first step, they must obtain permanent residency. The time frame is particularly different if they live in Quebec, which has its own selection system, or in the rest of Canada. After that, they must have been physically present in Canada for at least 1,095 days, or 3 years, during the 5 years prior to their application. Knowledge of French or English is also required, as well as passing an exam covering the rights and responsibilities of Canadians, as well as the country’s history, geography, economics and laws. Then the citizenship ceremony is organized, including the oath.

important consequences

Adeline Menon lives in a similar situation. Based in Toronto, the young woman from France has also been ill for more than two years. Worse, it was never called for a citizenship test.

Many of us feel helpless, abandoned, and powerless, exploded.

« I live with this expectation very poorly. It’s a lot of stress, because you don’t know when you’re going to get a call back, email, etc. for the test. »

Quote from Adeline Menon

While citizenship grants the right to vote and a Canadian passport, it also allows you to apply for certain federal jobs that cannot be filled by permanent residents or temporary workers.

For me it is important [d’avoir cette citoyenneté]. I want to access government positionsAnd confirms Muhammad Khalil, who currently works in the public service.

Entry into the Canadian Armed Forces, for example, requires Canadian citizenship. Sebastien Couturier’s son, who has been living in Quebec for more than eight years, dreams about it.

At the end of high school he planned to enter the Canadian Armed Forces. Passed the pre-entry exams, but it is forbidden because we did not get the ceremony and citizenship certificate, sorry for this original French.

Despite numerous discussions with army officials, Sebastien Couturier had to face the facts: I made sure my son had no choice. Must be a Canadian citizen when entering the training center.

« My son left his studies. He was planning to go to the army quickly… I’m worried about my son. I don’t want him to get frustrated, give up on his project and don’t know what to do. »

Quote from Sebastien Couturier
The young woman looks into the distance.

Adeline Menon lives in Ontario. She submitted her citizenship application in August 2019.

Photo: Courtesy of: Adeline Menon

Exams and virtual celebrations underway

Mohamed Khalil, Adeline Menon, Sebastien Couturier and their families are not alone, far from it.

It has become a major concern, explains attorney Stephanie Valois, president of the Quebec Association of Lawyers in Immigration Law (AQAADI), who regrets this Exponential delay.

« It is complete uncertainty. This problem has become more important in recent months, and it is very difficult for all those waiting people, because it is not easy to communicate with the Canadian Immigration Service. »

Quote from Stephanie Valois, President of AQAADI

According to figures provided by Immigration Canada, more than 116,000 immigrants are currently waiting to take the citizenship test, and nearly 78,000 people who have passed the test are waiting for the final step: taking the oath.

About half of these citizenship applicants reside in Ontario.

Faced with this uncertainty, many immigrants are reluctant to leave the country. A former client had to return to Europe to take care of his mother. He missed a call. He then returned, but had not received any news for months. So he is waiting to visit his elderly parents, says Stephanie Valois with a sigh.

A feeling shared by Adeline Menon, who has just given birth to a Canadian guy, but hasn’t seen her family in nearly two years. She also claims to have a file Fear of traveling for fear A message from the Canadian Immigration Department And not be in the country at that time.

Screenshot from the IRCC website.

The Federal Department of Immigration is currently processing citizenship applications submitted in the summer of 2019.

Photo: screenshot / IRCC

Processing delays

On its website, the Federal Migration Administration acknowledges the existence of delay in processing […] due to COVID-19. Immigration Canada also notes that it is currently analyzing applications received in August 2019, more than two years ago.

« Many immigration, refugee and citizenship offices in Canada [IRCC] In Canada and around the world they have been closed for long periods of time, causing delays in processing cases and a host of other problems. »

Quote from IRCC Official Spokesperson

However, Immigration Canada, in an email exchange with Radio Canada, claims that it You have come a long way since the beginning of the epidemic. For example, approximately 10,000 citizenship ceremonies took place between April 2020 and July 2021.

It is said that the online citizenship test was also created in November 2020. Thousands of people who want to become Canadian citizens have completed their online exam now, underlines the speaker, adding that a New advanced digital platform You should see the light of day.

« Online exams, virtual events, and video oaths remain the preferred options. »

Quote from IRCC Official Spokesperson

However, Canadian immigration determines that In the face-to-face restoration of citizenship services, Especially For those who need private accommodation.

In collaboration with Elise Allard

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