Kaitlin Doherty DELHI NEWS-RECORD
Canada’s immigration policy is making the age-old saying “you can’t go home again” a reality for Delhi native Maureen Smith.
After battling with hours of immigration paperwork and dealing with countless bureaucrats, Smith simply wants to return to her home and native land as a permanent resident.
She moved to Alabama 10 years ago after marrying her husband David. Now, she wants to come back to Delhi to assist her siblings with her elderly and ailing mother who is currently hospitalized.
“Our goal is to not have her go into a nursing home,” Smith said. “We are doing everything possible to stop that from happening.”
Unfortunately, Smith has found that coming home again with David is not such a simple task.
“We realize that this is a lengthy process and David still needs to qualify,” she said. “But we are also trying to put our family first. I don’t want to have to choose between my mother and my husband, and I shouldn’t have to.”
David is employed as a regional manager of a propane company in Alabama. However, he does not have a job that Canada immigration deems a required skill, and therefore must go to the back of the line.
“It’s just so frustrating,” Maureen said. “How are we not a priority?”
But there is hope.
Earlier this month, Diane Finley, Haldimand-Norfolk MP and Minister for Citizenship and Immigration, was granted the authority to give personal instructions on applications with the passage of Bill C-50.
Under the new immigration law, the minister has the authority to issue instructions on which applications will be prioritized, returned refunded or held for future consideration. This will allow some applicants to come to Canada within six to 12 months instead of the six years that it takes now.
“Based on the labour demands of the province, we need to fast track some applicants,” said Danielle Norris, immigration department media spokesperson. “We are hoping to stop the backlog of applications and speed up the process a bit.”
According to Norris, there are various ways that people like David Smith can come to Canada as a permanent resident. He can apply as a temporary foreign worker, a skilled worker, under a family sponsorship or as a refugee. He can also receive a temporary work Visa while waiting for the application process, as long as he has a job offer before arrival into Canada.
“The new system is not intended to affect the family class or refugee classes,” Norris said. “Applicants still need to meet certain requirements, but now they will have more opportunities in their chosen field.”
Having applied after February 2008, David falls under the new immigration law, and will be subject to the Ministers’ instructions. Anyone having applied before February 2008 will remain in the application queue, along with 900,000 other applicants.
Maureen just simply wants to care for her mother with her husband David by her side.
But for now, Maureen and David must wait.