One wrong selection cost them Canadian permanent residence

Shelby Thevenot
Published: September 30, 2021

Himanshu swears he applied for the English stream of the International Student Graduate immigration pathway, so he was shocked when his application came back refused for the French stream.

On May 6 this year, he was among tens of thousands of English-speaking international student graduates across Canada racing against the clock to fill out their immigration application. The International Student Graduate stream of the limited-time Temporary Residence to Permanent Residence (TR to PR) pathway was first-come-first-served, and after 40,000 applications were entered it would close indefinitely.

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"I'm 100 per cent sure I selected International Graduate. Me, my brother, and a couple of friends were watching me and correcting me, even if I made a small mistake," Himanshu said.

He is among dozens of people in a WhatsApp group who say they were refused under the French stream, even though they intended to apply for English. Sandeep Singh Ghotra is a part of this group. He says he applied for the English Essential Worker stream for non-healthcare workers, but was refused for not meeting the requirement of the French stream for essential workers. This pathway closed in July after the intake cap of 30,000 was reached.

He too says he is certain he applied for the English stream.

"I'm a computer engineer, I have 10 years of experience, I know what is a glitch of the computers and how to manage the computers, I know everything about computers. So I can't believe that this would happen with me," Ghotra said.

He referenced other glitches that have affected TR to PR files, such as the 7,300 additional applicants accepted for the International Student Graduate stream, and the fact that there were issues with paying the fees on the day the streams opened.

As for the French stream refusals, an Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) spokesperson said it was not a glitch in the system.

"Applicants have the opportunity to select the stream they wish to apply for in the dedicated intake portal for the Temporary resident to permanent resident pathway (TRPR Pathway). The question posed in the portal is: 'What pathway are you applying for?' and there is a dropdown with all available streams. French-speaking streams are shown in the dropdown as being French-speaking. The applicant is assessed against the requirements of the stream they selected in the drop-down menu," IRCC wrote in a statement.

IRCC also said that the streams were removed from the drop down menu after the maximum number of applications were received.

"It is possible that the applicant selected the French-speaking stream because the general stream was already filled when they went to create their application and as such, the general stream was not present in the drop-down menu," the statement said.

However, this would only be true if the applicants tried to apply after May 7 for International Student Graduates, and July 16 for non-healthcare essential workers.

Wenjing Xie applied on May 6 for the non-healthcare essential workers stream. She got a rejection letter from IRCC on September 14.

Like the others, she indicated on one of the application forms, the IMM 0130, that she was applying for the English stream, and also supplied a valid English test.

"I guess they didn’t even take a look at all my documents. They just gave me a refusal letter and [didn't] even [give me] a chance to explain," Xie told CIC News.

She called IRCC that day, the agent told her there was nothing they could do. She also filled out a webform to no avail. All the while, she too is positive that she did not select the French program in the dropdown menu.

Since the programs are full, there is no way for any of these people to reapply to the same program. IRCC says if these candidates are eligible, they may apply for Canada's other immigration programs.

However, Himanshu says he does not think it is an option for him.

"My [Post Graduation Work Permit] will be expired next year...I have nine months I can't even apply for Express Entry. I won't have enough points," Himanshu said. "There are many people like me, they do not have enough work permit to go with another Canadian immigration program."

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