The federal government has altered its stance and admitted there is currently a backlog in the processing of permanent residency applications from Iranian nationals.

In late March, Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen says he was unaware of any delays in the permanent residency application process save for unique individual cases where extended security checks were required.

Iranians across Canada believe they are being discriminated against and they have pressured the government to take action on the matter. Immigration Canada states the average processing time for a skilled worker application is six months but many Iranian nationals have been waiting upwards of three years for a response to their application. The frustrated applicants have been sharing their plight on social media using the hashtag #DelayedIranianApplications.

Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale has since admitted that there is a backlog in the process as background checks involving Iran have proven laborious.

“We don’t have the on-the-ground consular services in Iran to be able to pursue the security issues and get the information that we need,” said Goodale in Regina on Friday. “We are working on the backlog as rapidly as we can including making increased staff available to try to do the processing.”

In 2012, the Harper government closed the Canadian embassy in Iran. Goodale says the federal government is work with other countries that do have consulates in Iran to assist with security checks.

Members of the Iranian community estimate there are currently 600 Iranian nationals currently in the processing queue and the lack of a response on their application limits their career opportunities and ability to travel.

**CORRECTION: The original version of this story indicated the current wait for a permanent residency card is 57 days, The information is correct but irrelevant to the issue Iranians are experiencing with their applications. The current estimated application processing time for a Skilled Workers (Federal) application, according to the Government of Canada is six months**

With files from CTV’s Shaun Frenette