I write this blog entry because there is no other place to send a complaint. So I suppose the best way to do so is to put up in the web and spread it through social media (twitter, facebook and even linkedin). My hope is that someone else, who will be in the same shoe as me, does not have to go through the ordeal that my spouse and I had to go through with CIC.
Let me begin by saying that I’ve lived in Canada for well over half a decade (6 years to be more precise). Of that time, I was on study permit for PhD and also later on a work permit. I live in Halifax, Nova Scotia with my wife and little baby girl. We recently purchased a home here and are integrating well with the community. Both my wife and I work with local IT companies. I work as a Senior IT Consultant building state of the art Canadian made software products and my wife also works as a Senior Consultant with a management-consulting firm. All these are what the Canadian government (federal and Nova Scotia provincial) wants, which is attracting foreign talents to spur the economy and help with paying off taxes to the CRA.
So we decided that we would want to hang around a little longer here and thus applied for our Canadian permanent residency status via the Nova Scotia Provincial Nominee program. We finally got our “confirmation of permanent residency” letter early on this year, which is some where in April 2015. Considering the weather then, we decided to postpone our landing a little later. When the snow finally started to melt, we drove from Halifax straight down to Maine. We crossed over back to Canada via the Woodstock POE on the 2nd of May 2015. Despite having a letter from my employer kindly requesting consideration in speeding up our PR Card processing, the border guard agent who attended to us, did not accept the letter, as it wasn’t part of the standard protocol.
My job as an IT Consultant requires me to travel to the US from time to time for demo and software implementation purposes – mostly for a period of 3 days in a row after which I’ll return back to home base in Halifax. But due to not having my PR card ready yet, I was not able to do so and that severely impacted the resource planning for the company I work with.
At the time of crossing (landing), the date on the PR Card processing time for new immigrants as stated in the website, http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/information/times/perm-card.asp was about 41 days. Seeing that my wife is on a years maternity leave and that both of us have not return to our home country for well over 4 years, we decided that we ought to go home soon (my wife has to return to work in September this year). But due to the PR card, we decided to buy a ticket that’s a little further ahead of time (with added buffer). Eventually we bought our tickets to fly back home to Malaysia for somewhere around mid of August 2015. This gives us well over 3 months from the time of landing to have the PR card mailed to us.
However as the time progressed, the average days it takes to process a new immigrant’s PR card extended beyond 41 days. At first it went up to 50 odd days, and then to 60 over, and then to 70 over and eventually to 87. Every time we get close to date that ought to mean our application should be process, the days get changed again. In other words, the goal-post keeps on getting shifted as we came close to it. Thus it was hard for me to reason to them to check the status of my PR card process when I called the call centre. The typically answer I got was exactly what I find in the website. After over many calls, I had a kind agent who was willing to hear my story somewhat and eventually helped to check the system to see at which stage our PR card processing is in. But he stressed that he could not alter the speed it takes. Although I wish that wasn't the case as it was already too close to our flight dates.
As I’ve mentioned, it’s been over 4 years since we return home. And since I am working, I can only afford a maximum of 3 weeks of vacation. Thus I would like to maximize my time spend over in Malaysia with my love ones. Although I was told that we can apply for a 1 time entry visa for not having the PR card yet, it boggles me that we had to wait well over 3 months to have anything send back to us! Especially in my situation, where I am still considered a new landed immigrant. Having to travel to the Canadian embassy (which is not in Malaysia but in Singapore) and wait about 3 days to get the visa would easily shave away a good chunk of my time back home just to deal with red tape that shouldn't have happen in the first place.
Where am I right now? Well as it is when writing this blog entry (5th August), we still have not receive our PR card yet. And we are only 2 weeks away from our flight. Well done CIC! I appreciate your "concern" (note the sarcasm). I certainly hope that no one else has to experience what we are going through.