Please, Mr. Minister, help this family
Today, I am making a special appeal to the Canadian Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship to look into the case of a 34-year old woman and her 17-year old daughter who came to Canada in 2001 and have been seeking to regularize their immigration status.
Unfortunately, Clara, the mother, and her daughter, Sarah (not their real names) became the victims of gross negligence from both a lawyer and an immigration consultant who were retained to pursue on their behalf an application for permanent resident status under humanitarian and compassionate (H&C) grounds Fees were duly paid but alas the applications were never submitted.
Let us look at the case of Clara and Sarah.
Except for a brief visit back to their home country in 2006, they
have been in Canada since 2001.Sarah is currently attending
school and is doing well in Grade 12.
In 2007, they both made claims for refugee protection which were denied in 2009. They then submitted a Pre-Removal Risk Assessment application which was denied in 2010.
In March 2016, after over 15 years in Canada, Clara retained a prominent immigration lawyer in Toronto to pursue an application for permanent residence under H&C grounds. She provided the lawyer with substantial documentation and the processing fees. However, no application was ever submitted on her behalf.
By August 2017, Clara was married to Herman (not his real name), a protected person (one who was granted refugee status) who had a criminal conviction in Canada and was applying for a Record of Suspension ( a pardon).
Clara retained a Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant (RCIC), who was acting at the time for her spouse with respect to the pardon. The RCIC got in touch with the lawyer she had retained to obtain copies of her file. The RCIC did not submit her application, although (the RCIC) received all the supporting documentation and all the required fees were paid. Neither did she submit an application on behalf of Herman with respect to the pardon.
On November 21, 2017, Clara attended an interview with the
Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA). She had been asked to complete a Client Information Form and this was done by the RCIC, before her interview date. According to the information provided on the form, an application for permanent residence was already submitted, and Clara believed this to be true, since the RCIC had all the relevant documentation, her application forms were signed, and processing fees were paid, months before the interview.
But in April 2018, Clara was informed that her application was not mailed by her RCIC and further Herman was informed that his application for the pardon was also not submitted. Nor was his application for permanent residence made as a protected person. Clearly, false information was given to her ( and CBSA) by her consultant.
Clara was then requested to attend an interview with CBSA on June 13, 2018.
On June 1, 2018, she and her dependent contacted our office and on June 11, 2018 an application for permanent residence was submitted for this family and proof of which was furnished to the clients and CBSA. We also submitted an application for permanent residence under the Protected Person Class, based on Herman’s Notice of Decision, and included Clara and her daughter as inland dependents.
Although Herman had a criminal conviction in Canada, he was not inadmissible under this class of persons and he was wrongly advised that the delay in his application being submitted was as a result of receiving a Record of Suspension.
Since receiving his decision in 2004, an application for permanent residence was completed for Herman by his former lawyer but it was never submitted. His work permits were renewed on a regular basis. However, he did not have a permanent resident application pending.
Unfortunately, the CBSA directed Clara to return to its office on July 13, 2018 with one-way tickets for herself and daughter to depart anytime between July 30, 2018 to August 3, 2018.
Our clients recently made a plea to the Minister of Immigration, outlining their immigration history with proof of the negligence of both a reputable lawyer and a RCIC who both failed to provide efficient and professional services in a timely manner, as they were required to do.
Should these clients be punished by being deported as a result of the negligence of more than one counsel? We are drawing the attention of the Minister of Immigration to the plight of these clients and requesting his intervention as their case calls for compassion and reprieve.
We strongly believe that all those concerned have been gravely affected by this negligence and incompetence. Clara believed an application was sent on her behalf and Herman believed an application was sent on his behalf. Yet, in both cases no application was submitted and Herman was “misadvised” on more than one occasion.
Herman , as a protected person, has legal rights in Canada but now his wife and step-daughter are facing removal to the same country he fears. Therefore, he cannot visit them, once they are deported from Canada.
After hearing the struggles of this family to regularize their immigration status, I am deeply concerned about the consequences facing clients as a result of gross negligence by so-called immigration professionals.
We are calling on the Minister, himself a former refugee and a man known for his compassion, to intervene and allow Clara and Sarah to remain in Canada. They had all intentions of regularizing their status and was given a chance to remain in Canada while their application was being processed. However though no fault of their own, their applications were never submitted.
Please, Mr. Minister, help this family.
SUKHRAM RAMKISSOON is a member of ICCRC and specialises with Immigration Matters at No. 3089 Bathurst Street, Suite 219A, Toronto, Ontario. Phone 416 789 5756.