The Quebec Immigrant Investor Program (QIIP) is considered to be a highly successful program and the only one of its kind in Canada for high net worth business individuals and their families worldwide who wish to immigrate to Canada and can do so through the Province of Quebec on the basis of a passive investment.
Individuals applying to Canada under this program undergo both provincial level processing and federal level processing. The province is responsible for the selection of applicants based on the qualifying criteria and if approved the Quebec Selection Certificate is issued. The application is then sent to the federal government which reviews whether the applicant and his/her family are admissible to Canada. It is at this second stage with the federal government processing that we find unreasonable delays occur for our clients.
The current federal processing time as of February 19, 2019 as indicated on the Government of Canada Immigration and Citizenship website is 47 months for Economic Immigration- Quebec Business Class applications. Interestingly, this processing time has only been increasing in the last few years. In the course of this past year for example, the processing time was 44 months in May of 2018, then by the end of the year in December of 2018 the processing time had increased to 46 month and now by February 2019 it has increased to 47 months. This current processing time of almost four years for the Visa office abroad to review the permanent residence application forms, do security clearances, do police checks and review medicals is surely an unreasonably long and completely unjustified length of time to issue permanent residence.
Nevertheless, in order to bring legal proceedings against the federal government by a writ of mandamus the investor’s application processing time should realistically be beyond that indicated on the Immigration and Citizenship website to be considered by the Court, yet that processing time keeps increasing almost on a quarterly basis. Is that fair?
In most of the cases of our clients, there is no satisfactory justification provided for the delay in processing. This leaves the applicants frustrated and unable to plan their business affairs and personal future while they await the decision regarding their permanent residence to Canada.
The issue we are faced with is that according to Section 87.3 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act the Minister has authority to set policies regarding processing that will best attain the government’s goals so the current processing time is set at 47 months. However, the Courts agree that once the delay has been past established processing time without satisfactory justification, then the Court is authorized to intervene and compel the Minister to perform his duty.
I recently argued at the Federal Court of Canada for an order of mandamus for our Quebec Investor client’s application which had been processing for 50 months when the current processing time was indicated as 46 months. We now await the decision of the Federal Court.
The writ of mandamus is an exceptional order. It is a discretionary equitable remedy with a very stringent test that the applicant must meet. If your application has been processing beyond the processing time indicated by the Immigration and Citizenship website then contact us at Pace Law Firm to discuss the possibility of making an application for judicial review at the Federal Court of Canada for an order of mandamus.