The Federal Court of Canada recently reported a record-breaking surge of immigration cases. More than 70 percent of the cases received by the court last year were related to immigration and refugee matters, reaching a total of 13,487 proceedings by the end of 2022. The skyrocketing number of cases comes as a result of extended delays in the processing of immigration and refugee applications at the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), and an increase in IRCC refusals. With almost one million cases stuck in backlog at the IRCC, applicants for temporary and permanent residence are left anxious and frustrated as they wait for years to receive a decision.
Immigration lawyers across the country direct part of the blame to the COVID-19 in creating the backlog and consequences that followed. While the IRCC has taken proactive steps in processing cases that were put on hold during the pandemic, approximately one million cases remain in backlog. Further, lawyers and applicants alike are noticing an increase in refusals of immigration and refugee applications.
Mandamus applications have increased dramatically
In the context of immigration law, mandamus applications are utilized by applicants who experience excessive delays in the processing of their immigration applications to compel the immigration authorities to make a decision regarding their case.
Mandamus applications comprise most of the cases appearing before the Federal Court. Mandamus is Latin for “we command.” As one of the common law prerogatives, a writ of mandamus can be issued by superior courts in order to compel government officials or lower courts to perform mandatory or ministerial duties. Mandamus applications have been relatively effective in triggering a decision from the IRCC or – at the very least – a response regarding the upcoming steps of the process. However, the court has struggled to keep up with the large volume of applications.
Managing the surge in immigration proceedings has not been easy for the Federal Court, due to a significant number of vacancies and limited resources. The court reported that in the past year, it completed cases in nine months where oral hearings were involved, and in four months where cases were refused without an oral hearing. Professionals are recommending appointing more judges with an immigration background to fill the vacancies at the Federal Court in hopes of speeding up the process.
How Can We Help
Convincing the court to issue an order of mandamus can be a complicated matter that requires the assistance of an experienced lawyer. At the Law Office of Matthew Jeffery, we have over 20 years of experience assisting clients to obtain this legal remedy. Contact us for further information.