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Advocates calling on Canada to resolve citizenship application backlog

Express Entry Immigration

There are several benefits to become a Canadian citizen. Every year many people apply for Express Entry Visa Canada to get Canadian PR. By becoming a citizen of Canada, you can gain the right to participate in Canadian politics. Citizenship of Canada enables you to participate in federal, municipal, and provincial elections as a voter. However, you can also run for election or participate in the management of the different levels of government that occur in Canada.

You can also get access to many jobs that need a high level of security, such as applying for federal-level jobs.

Additionally, Canadian law also allows multiple or dual citizenships. This means once you’ll become a Canadian citizen, there will be no need to choose between new citizenship and country of origin.

Children born in Canada to parents who are already Canadian citizens will become Canadian citizens without needing to go through any application or process.

Finally, Canadian citizenship provides you with a passport, making it easier for you to travel to different countries without a visa. However, it is also easy for Canadian citizens to obtain visas if necessary. A passport is also useful to reduce the risk of encountering any problems while entering Canada.

Applicants Calling to Address the Backlog

There are many candidates who are waiting for their citizenship. Candidates and their supporters are now calling on the federal government to address the backlog. This backlog is preventing thousands of candidates from becoming Canadian citizens.

On November 7, a group known as Advocates for Resumption of Canadian Citizenship Test performed demonstrations in Montreal and Toronto. This group’s formation is due to the backlog of citizenship applicants who are waiting to get approval for a test. These candidates are waiting for the citizenship ceremony for a long time. However, their next demonstration is scheduled to happen in Ottawa on 28th November.

This backlog was caused due to the global Coronavirus pandemic. On March 14, IRCC canceled all the citizenship interviews, tests, and ceremonies. However, IRCC started to conduct online citizenship ceremonies in April. These ceremonies helped to create 2,500 to 3,000 invites every week. However, they were processing around 4,700 applications every week in 2019.

In this test, applicants will need to show their basic knowledge about Canada, according to the Citizenship Act. However, to attend this test, the candidates must comply with all the requirements. This citizenship test is currently not available online.

However, the government has started some in-person retesting. According to this, many are unable to get their Canadian citizenship. Back in September, 85,000 candidates were waiting to take the citizenship test.

As a result, they are not able to vote for the elections. Such candidates can not apply for specific government jobs or get a Canadian passport.

Applicants are Suffering from Mental Health

Many awaiting candidates are facing mental health issues due to the delay in their citizenship. They are waiting for the announcement of citizenship tests, but nothing has happened so far. However, many candidates say that they are frustrated and anxious about their tests. This includes applicants who applied under various streams such as Express Entry Visa Canada, Canada Start-Up Visa, Canada Province Nomination Program, and others.

Nael Asad is one of the co-founders of this advocacy group. He is also one of the thousands of people who are waiting for their interview call to take the citizenship test. Asad received his PR back in 2008, and he applied for citizenship in April 2019. Before the start of COVID-19, the average processing time for citizenship applicants was up to 12 months. According to this processing time, Asad was expecting his invitation in March, but the pandemic ruined everything.

There are roughly 85,000 candidates who are long-awaiting for the invitations. People are tired of waiting for the update from the government, and it frustrates them. They check the website every day to get any updates, but nothing has happened so far.

People say that getting citizenship comes with a sense of security. There are many refugees and people who fled war zones to come to Canada. Getting citizenship gives you a sense of security that it is your home country. However, candidates are asking for citizenship to become a citizen.

Advocacy Group’s Online Petition

The advocacy group has submitted an online petition. This petition has more than 9,000 signatures now. Applicants are asking IRCC to take action on the following:

  • Transparency about what the department has been doing with the applications since March.
  • The recommencement, or waiver of the citizenship tests.
  • Asking for a refund of the citizenship application fee, which is about $630 for adults.

According to the statement of Immigration Minister Marco Mendicino, IRCC is working on virtual citizenship testing. He gave this statement on November 12. The minister also added we couldn’t tell precisely when virtual citizenship will be available.

 However, Canada is still accepting applications under Express Entry Visa Canada, and you can apply for this program to quickly get your Canadian visa.

Read More: Some IEC participants outside Canada granted LOI extensions

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