MONTREAL, April 16, 2015 /CNW Telbec/ - Some 3,000 Haitian nationals must regularize their status by June 1 following the announcement that the moratorium on their deportation, declared by the federal government in December 2014, was being lifted.
The support organizations assisting them with their applications for permanent resident status are extremely worried.
After four months of intense effort, only 400 applications have been processed and only 25 out of an estimated 1500 have been transmitted to the federal authorities, despite extended opening hours at the support organizations (open evenings and weekends). Each application requires three separate encounters and represents over 20 work hours. Each individual applying to the Canadian government for permanent resident status on humanitarian grounds must provide written proof of the reasons preventing them from returning to their country of origin (title deed, photos of destroyed home, family situation, etc.) and of their successful integration into Canadian society (letters from teachers, employers, voluntary organizations, etc.)
Processing all the applications by the June 1 deadline would require hundreds of full-time volunteers, already trained to navigate the complicated application process.
The onerous and complex administrative procedures, combined with a timeframe imposed by the authorities that is far too tight, lead us to believe that it will not be humanly possible to process this many applications in such a short time.
According to Marjorie Villefranche, director general of la Maison d'Haiti: "Our biggest fear is that we will experience a second humanitarian crisis after the one caused by the 2010 earthquake, that we will see hundreds of well-integrated families, who have lived in Quebec for years, expulsed from Canada because they could not complete their application for permanent resident status in time."
The organizations working with those affected by the lifting of the moratorium request that the Minister for Immigration, Chris Alexander, make a commitment to prolong the moratorium for an additional 3 months and to simplify the application procedure required for permanent resident status.
The organizations concerned expressed their fears to the minister when the end of the temporary suspension was announced, and they have done so on numerous occasions since. Today, they are voicing their concern in public because they believe that without these two commitments, it will be impossible to give Haitian and Zimbabwean nationals, who were welcomed to Canada on an emergency basis, a fair chance to regularize their status.
SOURCE Table de concertation des organismes au service des personnes réfugiées et immigrantes (TCRI)
For further information: Marjorie Villefranche 514-754 6734 or Stephan Reichhold 514-791 2455