- United States
Retiring immigrants in Canada are being refused their applications of Old Age Security Pension (OAS) for failing to meet the strict requirements of the department’s eligibility criteria such as proof of residence in Canada for a straight period of 10 years.
Immigrant pensioners are required to produce supporting documents such as landing documents and air travel tickets to proof their presence in Canada.
Most of the senior immigrant citizens who have retired on account of old age are experiencing difficulties getting their applications accepted. These immigrant citizens have to go through procedures involving extra scrutiny just to get approval of their OAS applications. This special treatment is for all those who were born outside Canada, despite of the fact that they have spent almost all their lives working and living in Canada and paying taxes and Canadian pension system funds.
According to estimates, about 385,000 people are expected to apply for the OAS this year. According to the statistics taken in 2010-11, about 5 million Canadians had been receiving OAS pension, costing the government a total of $28 billion to date. This year, Services Canada is expected to reject up to 3 percent of the applications received on account of ineligibility.
Many immigrant applicants complain of unnecessary requirements from the Services Canada. If Services Canada asks an applicant to provide the air tickets for all of travels to and from Canada, the applicant must comply with the request or expect the rejection of OAS application.
For senior immigrant pensioners it does not make any sense to ask for all the travel record in the form of travel tickets to substantiate OAS applications. They feel that Services Canada should be able to check their residency status by using the available tax records.
Officials at Services Canada said that proof of eligibility is essential in approval of any application, as the payment of the OAS pension is contingent on the period of the applicants stay in Canada.
“An applicant may be asked to provide documents to substantiate the departures from and entries into Canada in order to validate residence in Canada,” said Amelie Maisonneuve, a spokesperson for Services Canada. Maisonneuve also said that this is important as the OAS program is based solely on the taxpayers’ money and due diligence is vital in ensuring that only those benefit from it that have proven their eligibility.
Mathew Kellway, a Toronto MP, said that these conditions are creating an air of frustration among these immigrant citizens. He said those who arrived in Canada a long time ago will definitely find it most difficult to arrange for their landing documents to substantiate their eligibility,
“Requiring somebody who has been a citizen for 40 years to confirm residency for that period, to find landing papers or plane tickets is incredibly silly,” said Kellway. The MP further added, “The government should assume this burden, given that it already possesses, or ought to possess, the records they seek from the applicants.”
Tags: Amelie Maisonneuve, Canada immigration, Immigration, Mathew Kellway, Old Age Security Pension, Services Canada, Yvonne Gardner