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He passed his Canadian citizenship test — then came a call saying there was a problem

He passed his Canadian citizenship test — then came a call saying there was a problem

Syrian immigrant Yaseen Alshehadat, whose family resettled in Canada in 2016 via Jordan, says he and his wife were thrilled after passing their virtual citizenship test in February, but later informed by immigration officials the photo ID they scanned before the test did not register in the system. They now have to reschedule to retake the test.

Early Newspaper

By Nicholas KeungImmigration Reporter

Thu., March 11, 20213 min. read

Article was updated 3 hrs ago

Yaseen Alshehadat said he carefully followed each step to proceed with his citizenship exam, scanning a photo ID and taking a selfie with his pc camera, prior to writing the glean test in late February.

The Mississauga man was relieved when he purchased an email from the immigration department accurate away congratulating him for passing the test. Maybe now he may well finally gather some sleep after transferring one step nearer to pleasant his dream to turn out to be a Canadian citizen.

However the following day, Alshehadat purchased a call from an immigration official informing him that his exam end result was invalidated because the image of his OHIP card, the part of photo ID he ragged for the test, did not register in the machine.

“I labored 14 hours a day, and for weeks, I came dwelling and stayed as much as spy the citizenship information. It was very demanding and I had little or no sleep,” said Alshehadat, whose family fled Syria in 2011 and resettled in Canada in 2016 via Jordan below a govt refugee sponsorship.

“I had two dreams. My first dream was to start my own enterprise in Canada. I did that last year. My 2nd dream was to turn out to be a Canadian. I’m so disappointed at the information,” added the father of six, who opened Yaseen’s Shawarma in October.

Alshehadat and his wife, Ikhlas Alnaseer, applied for Canadian citizenship in November 2019 and had been overjoyed when they had been finally invited in February to take the glean test after citizenship processing had stalled as a consequence of the pandemic. The immigration department began cyber web web hosting virtual citizenship ceremonies last spring but finest resumed faraway citizenship tests in late November.

Alshehadat took his test at 4 a.m. on Feb. 25; his wife had hers the following day. They said that’s the ideal time they may quietly sit for the exam in front of their daughter’s laptop. Alshehadat answered 18 of the 20 extra than one-determination questions appropriately and Alnaseer scored 16 — each above the passing mark of 15.

Then came the call from the immigration department that their test ratings had been invalidated “as a consequence of lack of ID,” even supposing officials had a file of the individuals in front of the display sitting the exam. They’d not accept the couple’s missing ID documents afterward but insisted Alshehadat and Alnaseer retake the test.

“Whether by way of applicant error, technical glitch or other reason, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) did not obtain photo identification from both applicant as required prior to taking the exam,” department spokesperson Derek Abma urged the Star in an email.

“Verifying applicants’ identities is essential to making certain the protection and integrity of our immigration machine. This is moral across all of IRCC’s processes, but especially by way of obtaining Canadian citizenship.”

Abma said an applicant’s identification must be confirmed at the time each requirement is being met. An official verifies the identification of the candidate by comparing faces on the identification doc offered at the time of the test, the citizenship photo offered with the application and the applicant’s proctored webcam images. A candidate can present a permanent resident card, a driver’s licence or health card prior to starting the test. This must be offered prior to starting the test, said Abma, and cannot be added after.

There are instances when verification of identification by way of photo identification is unable to take place at some point of the citizenship test, he said, but they are rare.

“Regardless of whether it’s as a consequence of an applicant error or technical glitch, IRCC officials have to invalidate the glean test outcomes and invite the applicant to retake the data test in a timely manner,” Abma said.

Extra than 9,300 of us had achieved their online citizenship test by the discontinue of January. Nonetheless, officials would not say how many test outcomes have been invalidated or why, citing “program integrity reasons.”



If someone fails twice, he or she will be able to be referred to an oral data hearing with an immigration officer.

Abma said Alshehadat and his wife may well be rescheduled to retake their test, which is able to be counted as their first attempt at writing the exam.

Nicholas Keung is a Toronto-based reporter conserving immigration for the Star. Apply him on Twitter: @nkeung

He passed his Canadian citizenship test — then came a call saying there was a problem