Canada immigration backlog leaves Calgary family ‘in limbo’ |

While many spend Canada Day celebrating what it means to be Canadian, others are still waiting for the opportunity to call Canada home.

The federal government is currently processing immigration documents for approximately 2.4 million people.

May Ellen Lim is one of them.

He spent Canada Day, celebrating his anniversary in the same park and community hall in northwest Calgary where he was married that day, seven years ago.

“We get fireworks every time we celebrate our wedding anniversary,” Lim joked.

May Ellen Lim and Michael Quinlan were married in a community hall in Northwest Calgary on July 1, 2015.


Both teachers, Lim and her husband, Michael Quinlan, met about 10,000 kilometers away from Canadian soil, where her husband was born.

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“I’ve been living abroad for about 21 years teaching in international schools, and my last posting was in Manila, Philippines,” said Quinlan.

And while they had always planned to resettle in Canada, the pandemic hastened their return.

“The Philippines was not handling COVID-19 very well and we have a six-year-old boy,” Lim said. “So luckily we had the opportunity to move here, as my husband is Canadian.”

May Ellen Lim, Michael Quinlan and their six-year-old son returned to Canada in September 2021, months after Lim’s application for permanent residence was filed.


They filed Lim’s permanent residence application in June 2021, before moving to Calgary in September.

“We tracked it down and saw that it was received and from what we understand we are supposed to get an application number shortly after it is received,” Lim said.

“We don’t have that. And it’s been a year.”

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Lim has repeatedly tried to contact Service Canada to get an update on his file, and has received little indication if his application is still in the queue.

“They said they can’t find my application in their system, so we don’t know exactly what that means: is my application sitting on someone’s desk waiting to be processed or connected to the system, or has it been lost. We do not know. Lim said. “The silence of the radio is distressing.”

Without her application number or original documents attached to her application, Lim is now in immigration limbo.

“I have no medical care. I can’t work Our savings are slowly dwindling. And just not knowing what the future holds, especially when we have a six-year-old, it’s very difficult.”

His case is not unique. Currently, the processing time for applications abroad it is 23 months.

And while Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada did not respond to Global News requests for comment by the publication deadline, earlier this week the federal government announced measures to help address immigration backlogs. .

Read more:

New federal task force to review Canada immigration, passport delays

“It is a function of the pandemic. It is a function of staff shortage. It is also a function of the political decisions the government made. And it also depends on Canada being a victim of its own success,” said Kareem El-Assal, director of digital policy and strategy at CanadaVisa. “The demand to come to Canada always far outstrips the number of places we have available.”

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Read more:

Entangled in Canada’s immigration backlog? What can you do with the delay

Lim and Quinlan have faced many other unrelated challenges upon their return, including a broken ankle from a fall on an icy Canadian sidewalk and a delay (of several months) for their shipping container from the Philippines.

“There have been hiccups along the way,” Quinlan said. “It has been tough. We are unable to get responses from the shipment. We can’t get answers from immigration. It’s just wait, wait, wait, wait.”

For now, Lim and her family are trying to be patient while continuing to hold out hope for her Canadian future.

“It’s been so nice being back in Canada, experiencing the seasons, seeing the friendly faces,” Quinlan said.

“We are a country made up of so many cultures and it’s wonderful to be back and to be amongst that, and to see all the people and explore all that Canada has to offer.”

Click to Play Video: 'New Federal Task Force to Review Canada Immigration, Passport Delays'

New federal task force to review Canada immigration, passport delays

New federal task force to review Canada immigration, passport delays

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