Applicants Stuck in the Backlog Often Depend on Top Appeal Lawyers
Currently, there is a serious backlog of immigration appeals before Canadian review boards and courts. It’s causing lengthy wait times for applicants who legitimately expect to receive a decision. This wait is also separating applicants from their families for prolonged periods of time, resulting in significant hardship. A lack of resources and adjudicators assigned to deal with appeals cases is responsible for this backlog. The influx of immigration cases has not helped ease the strain. For more information and help with the immigration appeals process, contact top appeal lawyers in Canada.
Significant Wait Times for Families
The former Conservative government’s introduction of immigration reforms in 2012 has caused a significant decrease in the number of adjudicators handling immigration appeals. As of June 2016, the number of adjudicators had fallen from 164 to 86. This has caused a major backlog in the processing times. Applicants must wait lengthy periods of time to find out the decision of their applications.
One couple waited more than two years to receive a negative decision on their spousal sponsorship. They had to wait an additional 18 months for their appeal hearing. Even if they win the appeal, they may need to wait another year before they receive sponsorship. These lengthy delays are causing significant stress for those waiting to be reunited with their parents, spouses, and children.
Lengthy Processing Times
According to the Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB), the 2016 national average processing times for appeals was 17.8 months. Eastern Canada had an average of 26.8 months; Central Canada’s average was 16.4 months; and British Columbia and the Prairies had an average of 9.4 months.
A spokesperson for the IRB said this backlog is due to the decreased number of decision-makers and a period of high intake for cases. The backlog in cases includes immigration appeals such as removal orders and refused sponsorship applications. The IRB is also handling an influx and backlog of refugee claims, assigning more staff to handle this influx, leaving less staff available to work in the Immigration Appeal Division (IAD).
Lack of resources and the government’s refusal to appoint more adjudicators are to blame for this backlog. The IRB hoped to reduce the backlog of cases from 10,400 to 7,000 by the end of 2016, and to reduce processing times down to 10 months by adding more adjudicators and implementing an electronic case filing system and a pilot program for processing appeals. The IAD also has an alternative dispute resolution to resolve appeals before going to a full hearing, but only 40 to 45 percent of all appeals are resolved through this process. It is essential for the government to carefully evaluate this situation and allocate the additional resources necessary to resolve this backlog and the current unfair wait times.