When Canada’s immigration process can be a game of ‘canada’s own national identity’
Posted On July 26, 2021
A Canadian immigration lawyer is warning that when it comes to the immigration process in Canada, people often think of Canada as the country they are born in.
“I think the question of whether or not I’m Canadian, that’s something that I think Canadians have been really interested in, to be honest with you,” said Mark O’Brien, a Vancouver immigration lawyer.
O’Brien said when it came to the Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB), Canadians often think the term “Canadian” has to be limited to the people who are born here.
“There’s no other nationality, period,” O’Briensays.
“If we were to say to a person, well, I’m a Canadian citizen, I’d say, well that’s OK.
I don’t care.”
The reality is that there are many immigrants and refugees living in Canada.
O’Brian is one of them.
“My first Canadian client was from Bangladesh, who came here in 1990,” O`Brien said.
“He was born here, but his parents moved back to Canada in 1990.”
O’Brien says the first time he had an immigrant client was when he was representing an Afghan man from Afghanistan.
“And he said, ‘What’s your name?’ and I said, well I think I’m called Ahmad, and he said,’No, you’re not.
Your name is Ahmad,’ and he says, ‘Oh yeah, I know your name, too.’
And then I said ‘Ahmad,’ and again he said ‘Oh, sorry, your name is.’
And I said you are.'”
That was a really big moment, because I was trying to get the client to understand that the client is Canadian, but he was not Canadian.
It was a huge lesson for me, because that is a lot of our people.
“The IRB’s Citizenship and Immigration Department says it takes an accurate picture of who is Canadian when it is made up of people born in Canada and people who have lived here for a number of years.”
It’s very important that people are aware that when you make a decision on whether or how you are going to apply for Canadian citizenship, that you are not thinking of a specific person, but of a person who has been here for several years and has lived in Canada for at least two,” said IRB spokesperson Jennifer Chivers.
Chivers says it is important for the IRB to have the right person in the office to help guide the process.”
When we have a person in our office, they are there to guide us through the process,” she said.
Chives says the IRBs staff can help with all of the information the client needs to fill out a form and submit it to the IRBS.
Chiver says people can also call the IRAs toll-free line, 1-800-263-0813, and ask for someone to meet them at the IRM for assistance with citizenship applications.
Orijit Chaudhary, a lawyer with the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Legal Service, says while the IRMB has to keep in mind all the information Canadians give, it does not always have to.”
You have to look at it as an individual, because it is a very large population, and people are very aware of that.
We do have a lot in common with Canadians, we are all very connected to our country,” Chaudhiary said.