Court freezes 100,000 immigration applications

Judge grants injunction to stop federal government from refusing entry to thousands of skilled immigrants who applied before new immigration rules were put in place

A federal court judge has ordered the immigration department to stop rejecting applications from more than 100,000 skilled workers.

Justice Frederick Gibson granted an injunction until the courts can decide if it legal to retroactively apply new immigration rules to them.

Lorne Waldman, a Toronto immigration lawyer who argued for the injunction, called it a “nightmare scenario” for the immigration department.

“The minister can’t refuse these people now,” he was quoted as saying in the Toronto Star. “He has to keep their files open.”

Last year, the immigration department brought in new rules and decided to apply the rules retroactively. Many applicants who would have been granted entry under the old system would likely be disqualified by the new, tougher criteria. A class-action suit on behalf of the potential immigrants was launched, and it’s working its way through the courts. It would force the federal government to process applications made prior to the new rules under the old rules or pay damages.

Susan Scarlett, an spokesperson for the immigration department, told the Star the department would comply with court’s order.

“We will hold off refusing those applications until the case is resolved,” she said. “We will be informing people who applied under the previous legislation of the court action, as per the court order.”

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