Court Orders That IRCC Took Too Long For Couple’s Immigration Application

Rare’ Case Sees Federal Court Ordering IRCC to Make Decision

It is no secret that immigrants can face long wait times throughout the application process as they wait to hear from Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). In a rare case, the Federal Court agreed with two individuals – Ghufran Almutadi and Abdulrhman Taskia – that the processing time of their application for refugee protection was unreasonably long.

The couple had first applied for permanent residence in Canada in 2016. They were born in Syria and had moved to Saudi Arabia where they got married, but remained Syrian citizens.

After facing financial problems in 2015, their status in Saudi Arabia became tenuous, but they feared returning to Syria would put them at risk of government persecution. Ms. Almutadi and Mr. Taskia therefore came to Canada in 2016 seeking refugee protection and shortly thereafter their status was approved by the Refugee Protection Division. Days later, they applied for permanent residence.

After waiting a year and a half the couple received their instructions for a medical examination in 2018, which they completed and filed within a month. But over the next 3 years they heard nothing in response – no updates or indications of what may be causing a delay.

The couple made two enquiries on their file between 2017 and 2021, though they were unsuccessful in learning what the problem was.

In February 2020, the couple applied for judicial review. Specifically, they requested that the Federal Court order IRCC to make a final decision on their application within seven days. The couple also asked that IRCC pay $7,500 in legal fees.

During judicial review, IRCC revealed that the reason they had taken so long was because of the need for a security review. The couple said they had family members linked to the Muslim Brotherhood which could have led to their persecution in Syria.

After analyzing whether the processing delay was longer than normal, whether there was a suitable justification, and the impact the delay has had on the couple, the Federal Court agreed with the claimants and declared the delay unreasonable. IRCC was ordered to make a final decision within 30 days and pay $1,500 in costs.

There are plenty of steps applicants can take to potentially decrease their wait time lengths. For example, ensuring that your application is accurate and organized may increase the likelihood that it is processed more quickly. You may also wish to reach out to an immigration lawyer, as these professionals can identify and deal with any issues that might come up in advance.