Over the past few years, Canada’s immigration application backlog has been growing at unprecedented rates. Part of this is due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Many government offices slowed down their work as they adapted to the pandemic, in-person offices, interviews and citizenship ceremonies were cancelled, and foreign nationals were banned from traveling to Canada for several months.
Despite government offices opening back up, immigration applications have been pouring in, and Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has had difficulty working through the application backlogs.
Immigration Applications Backlog
In March 2022, IRCC reported 1.8 million applications in backlog. By April, the backlog had increased to over 2 million applications across all categories. While IRCC recently promised to be more transparent and provide weekly updates on average processing times, it is still impossible for many individuals to receive accurate timelines or updates on the status of their applications.
IRCC has announced that it plans on resuming Canadian Experience Class invitations in July 2022, and is trying to work through the backlog as quickly as possible. IRCC has received an additional $85 million to its budget to help reduce the application backlogs and reduce the wait times for new applicants. A significant portion of these funds are being used to hire 500 new staff to help work through these applications.
How to Speed Up The Immigration Process
Many applicants who have faced significant delays are applying to the Federal Court of Canada for a writ of mandamus. If successful, it would force IRCC to process their application.
If your immigration application is stuck in the IRCC inventory backlog, it may be appropriate to file a mandamus application. We can help you bring a mandamus appeal to the Federal Court, asking the court to order the immigration authority to make a decision in your case.
Among other things, the conditions necessary to demonstrate that a writ of mandamus should be issued include that the immigration authority has a public legal duty to act and that they owe the duty to you. You must have made a prior demand to the immigration authorities to complete the process, and it must be shown that there was unreasonable delay in your case, as compared to the normal or average processing times.
However, one issue that may arise is that delays due to the COVID-19 pandemic do not count toward unreasonable delay. As time goes on, this becomes less of a problem. As Canada has nearly fully re-opened at this point, it is much harder for IRCC to blame delays on the pandemic. As such, mandamus applications will once again serve as a very effective tool in speeding up the immigration process for individuals.
We Can Help
Convincing the court to issue an order of mandamus is a complex matter that requires the assistance of an experienced lawyer. The Law Office of Matthew Jeffery has significant expertise in immigration matters and mandamus applications. Please contact us today to see if we can help you with your immigration matters.