Canada has specific procedures for individuals who wish to work, study, or immigrate to the country. To initiate the process, foreign nationals are required to submit their applications to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). IRCC has established service standards that outline the typical processing times for applications. However, it is important to note that delays may occur, causing the processing time to exceed IRCC’s service standard.
The immigration system in Canada currently faces a backlog issue, which can be attributed to various factors such as the COVID-19 pandemic, staffing shortages, high demand, and outdated technology. Delays in personal applications can occur due to missing documentation or requirements that involve additional time, such as background checks.
If you find yourself experiencing delays in your application, there are several options available to address the situation. Firstly, it is recommended to check the status of your application online through IRCC’s website. They provide a processing times tool that offers an accurate estimation of the expected wait times.
In the event that you encounter significant delays, you may consider submitting a webform inquiry or contacting the IRCC customer center to request a substantive response regarding the reason for the delay.
For applications submitted after 2010, another option is to file an Access to Information and Privacy Application (ATIP). This involves requesting the applicant’s Global Case Management System (GCMS) notes, as well as their Computer Assisted Immigration Processing System (CAIPS) notes or Field Operations Support System (FOSS) notes. These notes can provide insights into any potential issues with your application or concerns raised by the IRCC officer. They also offer an opportunity to submit additional evidence to address those concerns.
If necessary, hiring a lawyer to submit a formal request letter through the IRCC webform can be considered. This letter should highlight the prolonged processing time beyond the average for your specific type of application, your efforts to follow up with IRCC, and the negative impact of the delay on your situation.
In cases where the average processing time has passed and the aforementioned efforts have not yielded satisfactory results, the last resort is to apply for an Order of Mandamus. The Federal Court handles such requests, which put pressure on IRCC to make a decision on the application. It is advisable to seek legal representation to navigate this process, as the threshold for obtaining an Order of Mandamus is high. The success of the application will depend on whether the applicant has surpassed the average processing time and is experiencing unreasonable delays.
There are eight conditions that should be met to justify the granting of an Order of Mandamus. These include the existence of a public legal duty to act (process the application), the duty being owed to the applicant, a clear entitlement to the performance of that duty, the absence of an alternative remedy for the applicant, practical value or effect of the requested order, the absence of equitable barriers, the balance of convenience supporting the issuance of the order, and other relevant factors.
For instance, if an applicant is unable to renew their driver’s license or health card without a valid work or study permit, this may contribute to a favorable balance of convenience. It is essential to remember that waiting to hear about the status of your application can be a stressful and time-consuming process. Stay informed, proactively update your file, correct any errors, and maintain patience throughout the process.