Frustration is growing among many Canadian permanent residents who wish to become citizens. McLaughlin on Your Side has received complaints that it takes up to two years or more to process citizenship applications.
Janelle Hurrell, who works behind the scenes in Vancouver’s film industry, is nervous as her permanent resident card is about to expire.
“I feel stuck,” she said. “There is a lot of frustration among applicants who are waiting for citizenship.”
Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada received Hurrell’s application on February 21, 2020. She completed all the necessary paperwork, background checks and, in July, passed her citizenship test. She says it would take about two to three months to receive her invitation to the virtual citizenship oath ceremony. After waiting over four months, she contacted CTV News.
“I’m a little bit stuck between a rock and a hard place if it goes beyond February, because I won’t be able to travel from April on without a renewed PR card,” Hurrell said. “Mental health takes its toll.”
Renewing her permanent resident card could still take months, and when she takes her citizenship oath, she will have to cut out her existing PR card and apply for a Canadian passport in order to travel to New Zealand to see her family. Canada requires dual citizenship to have a Canadian passport to return home.
Dual Canada-U.S. Citizens can travel with a U.S. passport to Canada, but must still present proof of citizenship, such as a Canadian birth certificate. IRCC recommends that you have both passports for your convenience.
Hurrell’s case isn’t the first time we’ve heard of delays in Canada’s immigration system. Kaveh Matinkhoo contacted CTV News last May about problems he had been having betting on a permanent resident card, waiting more than eighteen months after making his request.
“Frustrated to have been in the system and applied the old way before the pandemic,” he said.
The government acknowledged the delays but said it was hiring 62 new workers at its processing center and improving technology and modernizing systems to speed things up.
Just days after CTV News contacted IRCC, Matinkhoo’s PR card was approved.
“Looks like the wheels are moving now, and I hope my PR gets approved in the next few days!” ” he said.
Regarding citizenship processing times, IRCC also admitted there was a backlog, saying in an email to CTV News: “Despite our efforts, we know that some applicants have experienced significant wait times. with the processing of their requests.
The agency is committed to accelerating things globally through a more integrated and modernized work environment. The agency also said that between April 1 and October 31, 2021, more than 74,000 applicants became citizens. He says he currently invites about 3,500 to 5,000 candidates a week to be virtually sworn in.
Thirteen days after CTV News contacted IRCC, Hurrell received an invitation for an oath ceremony on January 6. She is now a citizen and can apply for a Canadian passport.
“I am a Canadian citizen,” she proclaimed. “It looks like Vancouver is picking up the pace and a lot of people are getting it now, so maybe it worked. Maybe having a voice coming to you helped them get started, so thank you.”