Dealing with Delays at the Ontario Provincial Nominee Program Office

By Joel Sandaluk / Partner, Immigration Lawyer

I am admittedly new-ish to the practice of Immigration Law, and one thing that struck me quite early on was the length of time that it takes for there to be movement on various applications submitted to the government. I was advised that the timelines are not always what they say they are, and that there is always an element of surprise when you get things back either really early, or way too late.

That being said, I have recently been retained on a number of files that have come through the Ontario Provincial Nominee Program (“PNP”) office. These files have ranged from returned applications for being incomplete, refusals for not abiding by the licensing requirements, and inordinate delays in communication.

The subject of this blog is a recent file for which we were retained, in which an Employer Pre-Screen Application (“EPSA”) was submitted to the PNP office in May 2015 that by October 2016 had still not been decided. Even though the website and all the manuals related to the PNP Foreign Worker Stream say that EPSAs take approximately 90 days to process, at the time of being retained, it had been over 500 days. The employee in question had a work permit that was about to expire, that if the PNP had actually abided by their estimated 90 day deadline, would not be an issue. We were retained to liaise with the PNP, ascertain the status of the file, and if necessary, commence an application for judicial review to seek of order of mandamus.

I put together a demand letter setting out the pertinent details of our clients’ case, and drafted an application for mandamus to be filed at the Divisional Court. As instructed by our clients, we were preparing for battle.

What I discovered, however, despite the grumbles that are often associated with dealing with the PNP, is that our case was dealt with in a more than efficient manner. Not only did I receive a response within one day, but our client’s Pre-Screen Application was approved the day after that, and within one month of filing the employee’s nomination application (as a foreign worker), we obtained that nomination as well.

Our client’s employee is currently in the process of making his permanent residence application. This was a good outcome that came about as a result of the reasonableness of the decision-maker at the PNP, and a swift exchange of correspondence between our offices.

Sometimes the delays with this program, as with other immigration programs, can be frustrating. However, as with all human encounters, striking the right tone at the outset can often change the outcome for you and your client or your representative – especially when timelines are involved and work permits are expiring. Each set of facts is unique, but it is important to keep things in perspective, ensure that your expectations are reasonable, and that you put your money to effective use.

At Mamann, Sandaluk & Kingwell LLP we are happy to assist with any and all matters relating to the Ontario PNP, including applications and follow up.

This blog is not intended to serve as a comprehensive treatment of the topic, nor it is intended to be legal advice. Since every case is fact-specific, nothing replaces retaining an experienced and qualified lawyer who can help guide your actions and give you good legal advice.

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