What is a Member of Parliament and how can they help with my immigration file?
In Canada, a Member of Parliament (MP) is an elected representative who serves in the House of Commons, which is the lower house of the Parliament of Canada. MPs play a crucial role in the country's democratic system. As of late, MPs have been playing a role in immigration as they are a direct access to IRCC for applicants looking for information or reconsiderations.
Here are some of the key responsibilities and duties of a Member of Parliament in Canada:
Legislation: MPs participate in the legislative process by debating proposed laws (bills) and voting on them. They can introduce private member's bills, which are legislative proposals brought forward by MPs who are not part of the government.
Representation: MPs represent the interests and concerns of their constituents, who are the residents of the electoral district (riding) they were elected to represent. This involves listening to the concerns of constituents, addressing their issues, and advocating for their needs in the House of Commons.
Committee Work: MPs often serve on parliamentary committees that examine and scrutinize specific policy areas or proposed legislation in detail. Committees play a crucial role in the legislative process by conducting studies, hearing from experts and stakeholders, and making recommendations.
Constituency Work: MPs spend time in their home ridings, meeting with constituents, attending events, and addressing local issues. This involves staying informed about the needs and concerns of the community and acting as a liaison between constituents and the federal government. This is of particular interest for those awaiting, for example, their Confirmation of Permanent Residency (CoPR) and PR cards. Note only the MP in your riding (i.e. the area you reside) can inquire on your behalf.
Question Period: MPs have the opportunity to question government ministers during designated sessions called Question Period. This allows opposition members to hold the government accountable for its actions, policies, and decisions.
Representation of Canada: MPs may represent Canada at international conferences, events, or parliamentary delegations, contributing to the country's diplomatic efforts and fostering international relations.
Party Responsibilities: Most MPs belong to a political party, and they often work closely with party members to develop and promote the party's policies. The party system plays a significant role in Canadian politics, and MPs are expected to align with their party's positions on various issues. For example, an MP can align themselves with the Liberal party, the Conservative Party, the New Democrat Party, the Bloc Quebecois, the Green Party, or an independent party.
It's important to note the specific roles and duties of MPs can vary, and the above list provides a general overview of their responsibilities.
Additionally, MPs are elected to serve a term of up to four years, after which they may seek re-election in their respective ridings. There are currently 337 members in office in the 44th Parliament of Canada.
Roles in Immigration
An MP can be designated by the Prime Minister as a Minister of a specific body. For example, the current Minister of Immigration is Marc Miller who represents the constituency of Ville-Marie—Le Sud-Ouest—Île-des-Soeurs in the province of Quebec. He is part of the Liberal Party of Canada and was sworn in as Minister in July 2023.
An MP has the ability to contact IRCC on behalf of an applicant (with written consent) for issues like following up on an application timeline or, in some extreme cases, advocating on behalf of an Applicant who may have been given a removal order or had an application refused.
While the MP’s office cannot make decisions on application (they are not visa officers!), they do have the ability to make inquiries using their MP line. It’s worth noting that an application within normal processing time usually will not be responded to but it depends on the Office.
For more information about how the MP is in your area, click here.