Immigrants to any country can boost the economy but if they are restricted in their journey to attain citizenship, then a major overhaul of the process is required. Currently, the would-be immigrants to Canada have been confronting scores of bureaucratic problems that delay their status. According to some experts, these restrictions have been a major problem and must be fixed as early as possible for more flush in of immigrants into the country. Last November, the Immigration Minister Chris Alexander had met more than 400 people in Ottawa; most of them were the representatives of non-governmental organizations. These organizations have a contract with Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) to carry immigrant settlement services.
And he asked them to tell what they require to fix the problems. He told them, “You tell us what we need to get it right.” He stated that there are a number of weaknesses that need to be addressed. He asserted that CIC must offer services to all those who are in transition from temporary status to permanent. Usually the immigrants have to wait for a good amount of time for this. So, he has asked these organizations the reasons behind this delay. Even the refugee claimants should not have to wait for several months for approval of permanent citizenship, said Chris Alexander. Till now, the would-be immigrants had to apply for immigration status from outside Canada, and this involved huge wastage of money and time. Now the two immigration categories “provincial nominees” and the “Canadian experience class” have been created; which allows temporary foreign workers and foreign graduates of Canadian post-secondary institutions to apply for permanent residence while staying in Canada. These changes have been in place; however, the settlement program does not fund services for these immigrants until they complete their immigration process. So, the applicants have to wait for months and in some cases years for the services. This brings to the fore an important fact that unveils that an early intervention by settlement service providers makes integration of workforce and immigrants easier. Besides, it is also not good to tell the immigrants after offering them the citizenship that they are no more eligible for settlement services. Looking at the panorama, what baffles the immigrants is the way they are encouraged to obtain Canadian citizenship and finally making them ineligible for settlement services. CIC has dubbed the integration a perpetual process, which begins in Canada and continues even after obtaining the citizenship. But still the issue persists, and the entanglements in the journey of settlement services and citizenship must be obliterated. Calling immigrants for citizenship and not offering them settlement services? Doesn’t make sense! CIC is working hard to modernize its funding model. For instance service providers deliver $600-million in services annually, encapsulating orientation to Canada, language training, employment services and bridging programs to qualify to work in regulated occupations. So, let’s see how the immigration minister marshals the forces for better services for immigrants! by Neha Dutt at LivePunjab