Too Long a Wait to Immigrate

March 2nd, 2016

A recent article in the Toronto Star highlighted the case of Marcelina Gilles, a Filipino-Canadian who has been waiting 17 years to reunite with her husband and three children in Canada.

Seventeen years. Do you remember what was going on in 1999? It was the year of Y2K fear and a long time before your first smart phone. It was the year when Bill Clinton, still president of our neighbour to the south, came to Ottawa to dedicate the new Embassy of the United States in Canada.

In short, it was a long, long time ago.

Marcelina, now a Canadian citizen, first came to Canada in 1999 under the live-in caregiver program. At that time, her children were just 11, 10 and 8. Now deep into their twenties and each one a parent, she has been battling to have her kids join her here since she qualified to apply for permanent residence in 2002.

After applying for permanent residence almost as soon as she became eligible to do so, her application was rejected because her husband was diagnosed with chronic renal failure and did not pass the medical exam.

Nonetheless, Marcelina got on with things and continued to work in Canada to support her family until 2006, when her work permit expired. However, she was allowed to remain here while her permanent residence application under humanitarian and compassionate (H&C) grounds was being processed.

CIC (now IRCC) belatedly issued Marcelina her permanent status in 2011, five years after the H&C application was made. By this time, however, her children were too old to be considered dependants. However, she asked that her application be given humanitarian and compassionate consideration, given the circumstances.

“Marcelina has been trapped in different sets of rules that have all worked against her,” said Gilles’ lawyer, who has been representing her since 2006. “The delay is not her fault. There are no good reasons why the processing should have taken so long.”

Marcelina is just one of the Filipinos who have made the move to Canada and display traits that are quintessentially Canadian — a strong work ethic, entrepreneurial spirit, humility, close family ties . . . the list goes on. It is worth noting that in 2014 the Philippines was the top source country for new Canadian immigrants, ousting China and India to claim the top spot.

The Caregiver Program (formerly the Live-In Caregiver Program) and Canada’s Family Class Sponsorship Programs have allowed many Filipinos to arrive, transition to permanent resident status and, in many cases, sponsor family members to join them in Canada. Within the broader Filipino community in Canada, we have observed success after success of small communities that have flourished across the country.

So it is with great frustration that I read of cases such as that of Marcelina Gilles, a woman who has come to Canada, worked hard, played by the rules, and suffered. If I am frustrated, I can’t imagine how she and her family might feel to be dealing with a Ministry that often lacks compassion and foresight when it comes to assessing certain files.

Filipino communities across Canada are made up of proud, hard-working individuals and families that give more to our country, certainly as much as they take back. Marcelina and her family do not deserve the mistreatment that they have been subjected to.

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7 Responses to “Too Long a Wait to Immigrate”

  • On March 3rd, 2016, Anonymous said ...

    I am in the same situation as Marcelina. I came to Canada in 2009 as a kitchen helper and was promised that my permanent residency will be applied within a year and a half in fulfillment of the requirement at that time according to the agent that brought me here. But that did not happen as the same agent warned my employer that if she would sponsor my residency, I will leave the job as soon as I become a permanent resident. Knowing of this unfortunate turn of events from my employer herself, I went to look for a job that will provide me the skilled experience requirement. I was able to do and I just worked hard with the end goal of being able to meet all of the PR requirements and eventually get my family over. I have never been home since I came to Canada and brought my kids over through a study permit so I can be with them. I have missed 5 years of their life as kids too. And in October 2014, I had the chance to apply for PR through an immigration consultant who had asked me to delay the application because CIC was updating the forms to be consistent with new policy changes on the skilled worker requirements after the suspension of the TFW issue back in April 2014. Initially, the processing time was 14 months and we cant make a status inquiry until it passes the processing time. On December 9, 2015, we made an inquiry and they said that CIC is experiencing a backlog. Two weeks later, they updated the website and changed the processing time to 17 months. By March 6, Sunday, my application will reached the 17th month mark for processing time and they have not communicated to us anything with regard to the application. No medical request at all. I called CIC 2 weeks ago and the officer asked why I have not submitted any medicals and I said that we are waiting for the email instruction as this was the process CIC has followed for applications prior to Jan 1 2015. The officer asked me to get the medicals done and sent me a email about the panel physicians. We went to the clinic the day after. Now I am being told that it will take 3 months before CIC receives the medical results. I really don’t understand why this process seem to become rather inefficient as it is costing us so much for having to renew all of our permits because they did not process our application based on the initial processing time. If CIC would have communicated to us, we would have understood what was going on and patiently wait until they are able to do. But the frustration begins when it costs us for something that is not our fault. We remained to be very good temporary residents. My husband works and was never late nor absent, works overtime, pays his taxes. I have worked and trained people, bringing all my skills and talents to the workplace as a management person back home. My kids are doing good in school, never caused any trouble. My youngest daughter was even cited by the Great Kids awards for her community work as she volunteers for Rotary. I plan to establish my own business and help create jobs but I am tied to this residency process. I hope they could speed up a little bit and consider those that have done so much to help themselves and Canada.

  • On March 4th, 2016, Anonymous said ...

    Heart breaking story she diffinatly deserve to be with her family I thought canadian been recognized for their compassion what is wrong happenong here, prime minister Justin Trudeau he is a great man if he heard this story I am sure he will do miracle

  • On March 9th, 2016, Shimaa rzaq wali said ...

    I want with my kids live in canada

  • On March 15th, 2016, Anonymous said ...

    Sir .,
    U cannadian official with due respect Give PR to application and then u leave old people and family members the applicant who have got Cannadian P R passport u know what all they do the break family humanity in abuse fight, curse family and their family members,take away pension from old people take all the family wealth to cannada they don’t take care family at time of near death,the so called new family PR members holding passport do money laundering if u want an example like Dr Riyaz Ahmed ,dr Shakila,Muna Riyaz,Isra Riyaz,abdul azeem Riyaz (Susan mary university ) Rahma Riyaz all are egoistic and harresed all family members have created fight in all family members what law u do they have not come even the old people have been admitted to ICU and CCU even for death bed treatment they have not paid and have sent money to their home what justice u have done to them
    My respects to u

  • On March 23rd, 2016, Mousa yaya said ...

    I agree

  • On April 4th, 2016, Anonymous said ...

    Disgruntled taxpaying citizen trying and failing to reunite with family due to red-tape and backlog and lack of professionalism in the CIC
    This is the second year I have submitted the paperwork to sponsor my mother through the PGP program.
    As per Canada Post tracking the package was received on January 05, 2016 at 13:09, the day when the CIC started accepting the applications.
    Today it was returned to me with another generic letter stating that the application “was received after the cap of complete PGP applications was reached”.
    It happened the same way last year!
    I seriously doubt that the department reached its quota in a matter of hours and I require a more detailed explanation on this matter. I would also like to know how many attempts and money spent does it take until this government department will do its job properly.
    The CIC agents in the call centre are very dismissive and do not seem to care at all about these issues.
    As a taxpaying citizen I find the red tape and the backlog to be ridiculous and unprofessional to say the very least.

  • On October 4th, 2016, deepika malviya said ...

    Really good blog thanks author for writing this immigration news

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