New Canadian forced to defer university education twice after lengthy government delays

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A new Canadian was forced to alter his future plans in Nova Scotia after waiting nearly a year for his permanent resident application to be processed and approved.

“I had to defer my degree because I haven’t gotten it (permanent resident card) in September and I deferred it to January, but then of course in January, I haven’t received anything,” A B M Naimul Islam said.

Born in Bangladesh, Islam first came to Nova Scotia on a study permit in 2015 to earn his university degree at Saint Mary’s University in Halifax.

After he completed his degree, he applied for a three-year work permit which expires in August 2021.

Islam says after earning his initial degree he decided to settle in Nova Scotia and advance his education by pursuing a second degree.

He says all of his plans were contingent on him receiving his permanent resident card, for which he applied in March 2020.

According to Islam, he received notification that his application was received in March 2020 and that it would take six months to process.

He says his online application form stated he should have his PR card by September 23, 2020.

However, he says September came and went without a response.

“It’s been very difficult, no certainty about anything. So, I’m not being able to move forward and also I’m planning to go to school to do a second degree but again, everything is stuck at this point,” he said.

Islam says he requested information about the delay and received ‘generic emails’ stating that some Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) offices are working with ‘critical staff’ only because of COVID-19.

“Their explanation for everything is COVID and reduced hours. My question is if you are that overwhelmed with applications then why are you taking more applications?” he said.

Global News contacted the IRCC on Feb.16 to ask why Islam’s PR application was taking nearly a year to process. On Feb. 18, Islam received confirmation from the IRCC that his permanent resident application has been completed.

In a follow-up email, the IRCC says Islam’s application was approved in October 2020 and that it had taken until Feb. 18 to finalize and grant him status as a permanent resident.

“It is important to note that the processing timeframes outlined on our website serve as a guideline only. Additional processing time is sometimes required,” Lauren Sankey, a communications adviser with Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, wrote in the email.

Sankey writes that the actual time it takes to process individual applications varies due to a number of different factors, including how easily IRCC can verify the information and how quickly applicants respond to additional information requests.

Islam says he was repeatedly told that all of his necessary information had been received and that it was just a matter of waiting for his application to be completed.