Kitchener-Waterloo·Audio

People wanting to come to Canada stuck with pending applications: Kitchener immigration lawyer

Kitchener immigration lawyer Jennifer Roggemann says the federal government's plan to bring 400,000 immigrants to Canada this year is a good one, but there's also a massive backlog of people stuck waiting for their paperwork to be processed.

One client applied for a study permit in July but couldn't be fingerprinted until last week

A woman takes part in a citizenship ceremony at the Citizenship and Immigration building in Kitchener in Dec. 2019 in this file photo. Immigration lawyer Jennifer Roggemann says there's a massive backlog of people waiting for their paperwork to be processed so they can move to this country. (Julianne Hazlewood/CBC)

The federal government's plan to bring 400,000 immigrants into the country this year is a good goal, but they also need to address a massive backlog created during the pandemic of people waiting in the system, says a Kitchener immigration lawyer.

Jennifer Roggemann said every person immigrating to Canada has to do a fingerprint. That has to be done in person and between March and July of 2020, the buildings where people could do that were closed. Even after they were open, there were people waiting for their turn. 

She said one client who applied for a study permit last July couldn't give a fingerprint safely until last week.

"So the last six, eight months, that file was just pending," she said.

She said the federal government has changed the way it does business and must all be done virtually. And other rules put in place to curb the spread of COVID-19 are impacting people who want to come here.

"The travel restrictions, there's no doubt there has been incredible impacts," Roggemann said.

No flights to sun destinations doesn't just impact people seeking vacations away from the snow, she said. It also impacts people who want to immigrate to Canada from those countries.

She said going forward, Canada is still a very attractive location for people to want to immigrate to, but the people who want to come here must be flexible as the process changes and must be "persistent and persevere."

Listen to the full interview:

The federal government aims to bring more than 400,000 new permanent residents to Canada this year. Jennifer Roggemann, an immigration lawyer in Kitchener, talks about what she's seen over the past 11 months during the pandemic and what she expects will happen in the coming weeks. 6:45

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