Skilled immigrants are missing family, opportunities while waiting years in bureaucratic limbo

posted on August 3, 2021

By Pratyush Dayal | Vancouver Sun | July 22, 2021

While many are making plans to reunite with family, Gurkanwal Singh is stuck in limbo with a stalled immigration application that hasn’t been touched since September. He is not alone.

Since leaving India almost six years ago, Singh has visited his family only twice.

“My younger brother was just 10 when I had left, and I’ve missed those years that I could have spent with him,” he said. “Missing out on family is the worst that can happen to anyone.”

Since moving to B.C., Singh has focused on building his profile while working in telecommunications, in hopes of submitting a more-compelling application for permanent residency to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).

His work permit, social insurance number and medical coverage expired as he waited for action on his application, submitted a year ago. While the processing time is typically six months, Singh has not been told when he can expect an update.

A car accident in April forced Singh to dip into his savings, as his medical coverage had lapsed.

He calls the delay a broken promise that has halted his dreams of starting a mortgage business. Because his employer sponsors his application, he can’t accept job offers that may advance his career.

The cost is also adding up: $510 to extend work permits for his and his common-law partner, another $2,800 on their applications for permanent residency.

Singh is frustrated that applications under the skilled workers stream, called the Canadian Experience Class, are approved, despite being submitted months after his own application.

“If nothing changes in a week, I am certainly considering to apply for CEC, which will again cost us $2,400,” Singh said.

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