As many know it takes a long time for family reunification through immigration for those seeking to sponsor parents. It is fair ball for a country to decide how many and the rate of immigration. Canada under the Conservatives wants the immigrants with the money and does not see that their parents should be part of the deal. I figure that a born Canadian gets health care, education and all the other trimmings of citizenship from age zero paid by Canada and gets Canadian government support of their parents as well. I am not sure why Canada thinks it is too onerous to allow immigrants who come here, picked for their money and education (so we get the best deal hoping to put them to work if not immediately, a lot faster than the 18 years it took me to get my first job), the privilege of bringing in their parents who will not get a pension and cannot rely on social services. So I have odd feelings about the resentment many Canadians have toward those people who choose to come to Canada when they decide they would like to have their elderly parents with them mostly at their own expense. I also have a hard time imagining what developing countries think of countries that advertise and even recruit the best and brightest and insist that their parents are too much trouble for rich Canada to deal with.
But my concern is something different that is not as well publicized. Canadian immigration is a two step process when it comes to sponsoring your parents. The first step is equal served based on the order of application, the second based on the country of origin.
The first step involves sending some $3,000 plus or minus to the government and an application to see if the family qualifies to sponsor.These applications are treated first come first served from the Mississauga office. Every applicant is treated equally and the process takes over two years although this is lengthening. As of today they are treating the files received on September 7, 2006. Obviously I think that is a long time but at least everyone is treated the same based on public policy decided by an elected government about how many people to let in.
The second stage is a bit different and the subject of my question. Once the sponsors are approved the file is sent to the Canadian consulate/embassy in the country they would be coming from. In our case China. Depending on the country this next step, is reported to take between 6 months and 12 years. China is one of the longest waits. The government does not publish exact times so people waiting have to find out through a number of means what the wait is.
In most foreign countries we have one embassy office through which all these files go. So if you come from central America there are several offices one for each small country but if you are coming from China there is just one. You would think that the resources would go to the countries with greater demand especially since we can predict these based on the population of the country, historical immigration to Canada which will decide the number who might have parents there and the number of applicants. Canada cannot say that it is blindsided by the fact that China is a large country with a high number of potential immigrants to Canada. We have had high Chinese immigration in past years many arriving here because we advertised for the benefits they bring, technical expertise and money.
So I am surprised that the planning for the management of these applications is chronically off such that there is a difference of some 24 times the wait. Effectively, this slams the door since the idea is you pay, apply and then wait 2-3 years for the first stage and then face another up to 12 year wait. If you start when your parents are 60 then assuming they are still alive you might meet them at the airport when they are 75, provided they can still pass the physical. Your neighbour's parents coming from another country could apply 5 years later and have their parents here a decade earlier. While the differences have always been there they were never this significant until very recently.
So I am assuming that this is about bad planning, that Canada cannot match its resources to its applicants because I do not want to believe that this is about racism or an assumption that sponsors are unequal based on their parents' origins. But the point remains: do we not have the obligation to treat all newcomers equally and allocate resources at least as much as possible to do so? How about those Canadian citizens who are applying? Why are we expecting to be waiting up to 15 years for my partner's parents because they come from China when others come in only 6 months past the first stage is finished from the Middle East or Central America for example? The explanation we heard from immigration employees is that both other regions have many more offices for a smaller population than China because they are many separate countries. Is Canada that stupid? Are we incapable of saying we need more people to work in an office serving a country of a billion than one of 2 million?
So to my question: I am wondering if we should make a human rights case demanding that the government of Canada restrict the flow of immigrants as it chooses through the first step serving applicants equally but require the embassies and consulates turn their end of the files around in a roughly equal time like 6 months unless there is a complication in the file. If that means they must hire extra staff in some places, so be it. Why is our $3,000 (head tax?) worth less than the ($3,000) paid for someone from another country? If there are more applicants then there is more money coming in and therefore they should be able to hire more staff.
I realize I am too close to this. Do you think there is a human right to equal treatment for applicants? Not about the overall delays (like it or lump it that is national public policy) but I am talking about the massive difference in the way files are treated. Should I accept the government's system that we all pay the same and we are all Canadians doing the sponsoring but some will face 24 times the wait longer for some countries than others -- just because we can't be bothered to allocate resources according to demand?Realistically, as I say this is beyond a wait-- this is now a refusal since 15 years for seniors is clearly a question of the file outliving the applicant in too many cases.
Sorry this is long but I wanted to provide more explanation in order to get more informed opinions and I also would like to share what we are going through. If you think it is wrong to have such a difference-- what do you think we should do?