Rudolph Kischer, partner at Vancouver law firm Maynard Kischer Stojicevic, was called upon by Global BC news to give expert opinion on their top story. Kischer and his colleagues specialize in immigration and citizenship law, so he was able to offer a unique perspective on the story of Karen Strachan.
Strachan, 53-year old mother of two, immigrated to Canada 30 years ago from Yorkshire, England. Recently, Strachan decided to apply to be a Canadian citizen, but the government rejected her application saying she does not have the necessary evidence to prove she can speak English. Even after speaking directly with government officials, presenting her resume of past work experience and a letter of understanding, Strachan is being told she must take a $295 test to prove her language skills.
“It’s unfortunately very absurd, but not uncommon these days,” Kischer told Strachan and host Squire Barnes in the Global BC news segment. “Bureaucracy has gone a little too far. There was a time when I started practicing that an English test wasn’t required.”
Kischer remembers when he first started practicing and an immigration officer told him they determine language proficiency simply by judging how easily applicants communicate at the time of taking the citizenship test. Now, he points out, things are drastically different.
“Now, the minister has gone the other way, to the point where I think he is being extremely unreasonable. We see cases like Karen’s, someone who is clearly fluent in English ability, who has to go by what the department wants,” explains Kischer. “It’s not what the law requires. The law doesn’t require that she take a test. The law requires the applicant to put in evidence that they speak English.”
As for Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Jason Kenney, he seems to have little remorse for Strachan’s situation, saying, “I’m sorry this lady has to go through this experience but she ought to have done the test like everyone else.”
When asked to offer his professional advice, Kischer recommended Strachan save time and money with the easy route. “Unfortunately, I think its just fastest and easiest to write the test. From my experience, trying to get past the gatekeeper that’s going to take that application, could cost thousands of dollars in legal fees, “ said Kischer.
The full story and Global BC top story segment can be found here.
Watch video below.
Rudi Kischer joins the conversation at 9:24 in the below video.