Thousands Of Immigrants Protest Canada Residency Delays

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By IBTimes Staff Reporter | January 30, 2013 9:21 PM EST

Thousands of immigrants Tuesday held demonstrations in front of the Canadian parliament to protest against the delay on the part of the government in granting residency status to them.  

"They came to Canada from France, Italy, Morocco and elsewhere, paid thousands of dollars in fees and filled out lengthy forms. But their lives put on hold for years in the delayed-residency-row," reported Agency France Press (AFP) from Ottawa Wednesday.

Reportedly, many of the immigrants' files have not been processed for more than two years which caused them unable to work legally. Many of them are forced to leave Canada.

Jinny Sims, an opposition lawmaker representing the New Democratic Party, alleged that the backlog was due to the cuts in the immigration ministry announced last year, which included 300 layoffs and the closure of 19 regional and foreign offices, the AFP reported.

"This Conservative (government) boondoggle transformed the Canadian dream for thousands of people into a total nightmare," AFP quoted Jinny Sims as saying.

 Michelle Dorion, spokeswoman for one of the largest immigrants' groups in Canada, reportedly said that her organization (Buffalo Forgotten) had 10,000 similar personal stories to share with the Canadian government in light of sharing severe anxieties, and stresses caused by the residency delays.

 "Most of the files that were transferred from Buffalo to the Ottawa processing office will be completed by summer 2013," a ministry spokesperson told the AFP. However, Michelle Dorion remains skeptical.

 Speaking to Global News last December, Prime Minister Stephen Harper said that his government had been making some fairly profound changes in handling immigration procedures.

Harper told Global News that Canada should create an immigration system that was going to bring people in permanently.

"We have traditionally just been a country that passively accepts applications. We are now trying to go out and shape those immigration applications and process those in a way that will serve the labor force holes that are emerging."

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