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The long-awaited lawsuit filed by 1,000 people against Citizenship and Immigration Canada and Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney has opened. The lawsuit was filed by many of the applicants who had been waiting for their permanent residency applications to be processed, some of whom had been waiting eight years. But in order to clear a huge backlog of applications and reduce wait times for permanent residency applications, those who had been waiting the longest had their applications effectively “deleted”.
Applicants whose applications had been deleted through new legislation are already in the process of receiving refunds, so the lawsuit isn’t about money. Rather, those who are suing over the immigration applications are suing to have their applications reinstated.
If these 1,000 or so people win this lawsuit, it is likely that the government will also reinstate the other almost 100,000 applications that were deleted. When you consider those applications plus the family members and dependents of those applicants, that is permanent residency that would be granted to about 280,000 people.
These applications were made through the Federal Skilled Worker Program, which the minister had said was completely unmanageable with so many applications and that the applications needed to be thrown out.
The lawsuits allege that this was done illegally, and in addition the legal team representing the plaintiffs has alleged that the terminations may have been racist in its selection as more than 80% of the applications removed were Asian, Middle Eastern and African.
It will be interesting to see how this case plays out. After all, it could mean permanent residency for almost 280,000 people if won. But if lost, the government will have effectively gotten away with putting people’s and their families’ lives on hold for 8 years – for no reason.
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