An Afghan family separated for two decades

Sultan Ali Sadat of the Saskatoon Open Door Society smiles for the camera in a park in the middle of the day.

Originally from Afghanistan, Sultan Ali Sadat worries about his family as repeated immigration applications run into problems.

Photo: Radio-Canada / Omayra Issa

Living in Saskatoon, Sultan Ali Sadat has been trying to bring his parents to Canada for 19 years now. They fled Afghanistan in the 1990s, taking refuge in Pakistan.

In 2015, Sultan Ali Sadat and his brothers submitted a refugee claim for their parents, and the file has still not been processed. They contacted MPs about it.

When a faint glimmer of hope appears, the parents sell all their possessions in order to prepare for a departure to Canada.

And with every bureaucratic incident (a misplaced visa application by a federal agency, a clumsy answer to a single question, expiring medical exams), they have to buy it all back while waiting for the next one.

In August 2021, the hope was such that the brothers rented a house in Quebec, empty and uninhabited since, in times of inflation.

I can’t establish communication with theIRCC. The system is broken. »

A quote from Sultan Ali Sadat, resident of Saskatoon

The fears of LGBT communities

Close-up of V fingers with LGBT flag on the back

Members of the LGBT community facing systematic persecution seek refuge in Canada.

Photo: The Canadian Press / Mark Blinch

According to the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada website, processing refugee applications from Lebanon can take up to 46 months.

At 37, Nour fled Syria with his partner to reach Lebanon. But his partner had to return home, unable to find adequate treatments for her diabetes in the Land of Cedars.

Nou submitted his application to the federal government on May 25, 2020. At the time, the expected wait time was two years.

She fears for her safety as a cousin has taken up residence in her apartment building to watch over her. Openly LGBT, she cannot easily find a new apartment to rent.

I cry so often. I want to scream. »

A quote from Nour, LGBT refugee

As the backlog continues to grow, there is an increasing need for claimants’ lives to be in immediate dangerexplains the president of the board of directors of Capital Rainbow Refuge, Lisa Hébert.

This is the case for Michel, who was relocated to Kenya thanks to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, while his application is being processed.

The process has seen some progress recently, after repeated attacks on Michel and his partner, who are subjected to violence from refugees and police from the Kakuma camp.

He contacted a refugee sponsorship group, the Rainbow New Beginnings, who submitted an application on his behalf in December 2020.

According to a member of the organization, the refugees cannot trust the Nairobi police. Police officers are persecutors who encourage hate crimes against the LGBT communityhe explains.

I just want to settle in Canada, become a civil servant, and marry my lover, who wants to become a plumber.explains Michael.

No light at the end of the tunnel

Saskatoon-based immigration and refugee lawyer Omer Khayyam

Saskatoon-based immigration and refugee lawyer Omer Khayyam

Photo: Provided by Omer Khayyam

In March, CBC revealed that Ottawa’s backlog of immigration applications had reached nearly two million files. By email, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada confirmed the extent of the delays, adding that advances in technology will speed up the process.

With $85 million in support from the 2021 Economic and Fiscal Update, we are continuing our efforts to reduce backlogs during the pandemicthe agency said in a statement.

According to Saskatoon-based immigration and refugee lawyer Omer Khayyam, the federal agency is using the pandemic as an excuse to justify its backlog.

Refugees are suffering. The backlog continues to grow as the system is plagued with inequity. There’s not much light at the end of the tunnel.

With information from Pratyush Dayal



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