Applicants of Canada’s special, one-time immigration program are being forced to navigate the system alone, critics allege


With Canada’s much awaited special immigration program scheduled to open on Thursday, experts say they are concerned about the possibility of chaos.

Immigration lawyers gave information about the new program and its portal and said that they have been told to the applicants Create your own accounts, complete the online application and upload all the necessary documents On their own – without professional legal help.

“There is a need to fill different forms regarding family information, travel history, all (previous) addresses, work history and study period. They require all forms and documents, just shy of medical and police approval, said Toronto lawyer Barbara Joe Caruso.

“Everything needs to be labeled, uploaded and properly attached. If they are not done properly, they will be considered incomplete and denied. “

Applications are being taken on a first come, first served basis. Even if an application is incomplete or an applicant is ineligible, once logged into the portal, it is counted towards the 90,000 cap under this new program. The system will stop accepting applications once the cap is reached.

Lawyers and consultants asked during the briefing if the portal would reopen if many applicants became ineligible, but said immigration officials had no answer.

The one-time immigration route, announced in April, aims to give 90,000 applicants permanent residency to include recent international graduates including temporary foreign workers with experience in healthcare and essential occupations.

These already Canadian candidates have been prioritized to help the country meet its 410,000 annual immigration targets, which are amidst uncertainty given the ongoing COVID-19 border restrictions.

The new route has already created an excitement – and frenzy – among candidates who found themselves screwing up to register for one of the two government-nominated language tests required to prove language proficiency in their applications. is. (Details about the application process have not yet been published.)

Authorized lawyers and consultants first have their own portals with the immigration department which they use to complete and submit applications on behalf of clients.

However, the new stand-alone portal for the new route only allows applicants to log in via their personal email and there is no interface to connect their account to their consultant.

“If your whole future depends on this whole process, you want to be fair, you want to be sensible, you want people to have experience working in government portals to help you,” Caruso said .

“It’s exhausting.” Government technology is not user friendly at the best of times, let alone when you are under pressure. There is a hat and you want to make sure that you are the first one. “

Of the new program’s 90,000 locations, 20,000 will be dedicated to temporary foreign workers in health care; 30,000 for those in other selected essential occupations; And for the remaining 40,000 international students who graduate from a Canadian institution.

Many essential workers will have to spend time off work and to explore the new route application process.

“They are essential workers. They are people driving trucks. They are frontline people in the health care system, ”said Toronto immigration lawyer Ravi Jain.

“Many people will apply even if they do not have a language test result. They are just going to ignore the instructions and hit the submit button. Every time you ‘submit’, you take a place. “

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Last year, the federal government got rid of its first-before-first-served system for Canadians, sponsoring their parents and grandparents as permanent residents overseas that public spaces The resentment was over within minutes.

This prompted Ottawa to reintroduce a lottery system, in which interested sponsors now require registration first to enter the draw, then submit a completed sponsorship application if they choose after duplicate and incomplete forms went.

“The reality is that there are always people who are going to do no harm, no matter which direction they go. There is a race to file. There are a lot of things that can go wrong. But then what are the options? “Said Mark Holte, president of the Immigration Law Section of the Canadian Bar Association.

“People will not understand that there are very few nuances with the application. I would imagine that we could have 20 percent or even 30 percent of bad applications with people who are ineligible who are using capped spots. “

Holthe, who started An online course In April, to help applicants understand the basics of the immigration portal, it expects an application package for new workers, which is comparable to the current one for immigration of skilled workers.

He said that anyone wishing to apply should start compiling and scanning documents such as their passports, work permits, reference letters and employment records as it is possible what would be required in the application, he suggested.

The immigration department still has time to get through this process, “right”, says Karim El-Assal, managing editor of Canadian News and immigration news editor and policy director of CIV News.

“Immigration, Refugee and Citizenship Canada are entitled to credit for accommodating more needed workers and graduates during this crisis,” he said. “But they must be careful before dotting their i’s and crossing their t’s (before they launch the route).”

Alexander Cohen, press secretary for Immigration Minister Marco Mendicino, said his office was aware of concerns raised regarding access to the new portal.

“We remain in close contact with many key stakeholders and are looking into it,” Cohen told The Star.

Nicholas Keung is a Toronto-based reporter covering immigration for the star. Follow her on Twitter: @ Ning

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