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The bad news is piling up for Quebecers who are in a relationship with a person living abroad. Processing times for family reunification have just jumped to 41 months and are further delaying the plans of thousands of spouses waiting to be reunited in Quebec.
What will it take for Quebecers who fall in love with someone who is not from here to be treated fairly? What will it take?, repeats Marie G. Pilon, shaken.
A college teacher, the 46-year-old is married to a British man who speaks French and whom she met before the pandemic. They chose Quebec to lead their life as a couple, but reality caught up with them: their case progressed extremely slowly and forced them to maintain the flame from a distance.
As of October 13, approximately 38,400 family reunification files were pending in Quebec. The Legault government repeats that processing times are up to Ottawa.
However, part of the problem comes from the fact that he himself set a threshold of 10,400 admissions per year in the family reunification category. The number of applications therefore greatly exceeds the number of places available in Quebec. Result: waiting times continue to increase.
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I want to believe it's not evil, but it's starting to get difficult .
A quote from Marie G. Pilon
Last week, the estimated waiting time for spousal sponsorship abroad was 33 months in Quebec. This deadline has just jumped to 41 months, while it is only 12 months for residents of other Canadian provinces.
By email, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) confirms that due to the thresholds set by Quebec, it is impossible to process all files in the family reunification category. This situation means that waiting times for customers heading to Quebec differ from those of customers heading to the rest of Canada.
For Ms. Pilon, the consequences are very real. It's becoming very difficult to plan our lives and obviously I'm 46 years old. […] In the event that we would like to start a family, the clock has been ticking for some time now and it is becoming more and more improbable, so it is an additional mourning to do.
At the initiative of Monsef Derraji, spokesperson for the Liberal Party of Quebec (PLQ) on immigration, Ms. Pilon and other people awaiting family reunification will take part in a press briefing at the National Assembly on Wednesday.
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Monsef Derraji is immigration spokesperson for the PLQ.
< p class="StyledBodyHtmlParagraph-sc-48221190-4 hnvfyV">Given the stubbornness of the Legault government, which mixes everything in the same category, these people are suffering and the delays are increasing, summarizes Mr. Derraji. In his opinion, the solution lies in the hands of the Minister of Immigration, Francisation and Integration, Christine Fréchette.
This What we ask of him is to act quickly, to reduce the number of inventories. It's alarming, it's inhumane to see 38,000 people wait three years before having their soul mate with them, summarizes Mr. Derraji.
Behind these numbers, there are human beings.
A quote from Monsef Derraji , immigration spokesperson for the PLQ
Gastroenterologist Sacha Sidani, 41, is also part of the statistics. Of Russian origin, his wife currently resides in Dubai while awaiting the outcome of the sponsorship application filed last summer.
The couple is therefore not at the end of their troubles and Mr. Sidani knows it. To see each other, they must therefore rely on travel, which is not always easy considering the job that Mr. Sidani holds at the University of Montreal Hospital Center (CHUM).
For a few months, a year, we say to ourselves that this is perhaps the price to pay to be able to be reunited, but for several years, it is something that is unthinkable. Imagine the emotional stress on both sides. Also imagine the feeling of helplessness, he says.
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Sasha Sidani and his wife, Yulia Kashichkina.
It's a bit like the government wants to decide when we can live our lives together. In my opinion, this is something that is unthinkable in a free and democratic society like ours, continues Mr. Sidani.
It's a little cruel, in my opinion, to impose this on the families of their fellow citizens.
A quote from Sacha Sidani
Mr. Sidani recalls that he vouches for his partner, who is currently taking French courses abroad.
Moreover, the argument of reception capacity, often invoked to limit the number of admissions, does not hold water for case of family reunification, in the eyes of Ms. Pilon.
I own my home. I have my own place. There's room, it's okay! The fact that my husband comes here will not create an additional housing crisis, she illustrates.
To this end, the case of Antoine Poucet is even more eloquent. Of Belgian origin, the 28-year-old young man is completing a doctorate in legal sciences in Montreal and already lives in the same accommodation as his partner.
S he considers himself lucky to be physically reunited with his lover because of where he studied, his application for permanent residence has been dragging on since the summer of 2022.
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Antoine Poucet and his partner, Catherine Dagenais.
This is a stability issue. […] Life is always full of surprises. What happens if, for example, there is a good surprise, like my partner becomes pregnant, a child arrives in the portrait? We would still be more reassured to know that I have a permanent status, he said.
Mr. Poucet adds that the lack of predictability compromises personal and professional projects, even if he is already on Quebec soil.
It's always stressful. It plunges into a kind of uncertainty. It puts life projects on hold for reasons that seem a little absurd to my partner and I.