The Return of Incomplete Applications [Last Edited September 24, 2014]

One of the most frustrating experiences for people applying for visas is to have an application returned due to incompleteness.  Because of processing delays, it often takes  Citizenship and Immigration Canada (“CIC“) months to return an incomplete application, and applicants have to then start over.  While the practice of returning incomplete applications was originally limited to CIC, on June 20, 2014, the Ministry of Economic and Skills Development Canada (“ESDC“) released a Temporary Foreign Worker Program Bulletin titled “How to Handle Incomplete Applications.”

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The Doctrine of Legitimate Expectations [Updated – July 17, 2014]

The doctrine of legitimate expectations is a procedural doctrine which has its source in the common law. Because the doctrine of legitimate expectations is a common law principle, it does not create substantive rights.
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Language Requirements for Immigration (IR-11)

During the time that I have been writing this blog the most frequently asked question that readers have asked me is whether their IELTS band scores are sufficient for certain immigration programs.  Some people have even offered to book initial consultations with me just so that I would review their IELTS scores.  This has always been somewhat surprising to me given that the Citizenship and Immigration Canada (“CIC”) website publishes each of its program’s respective language requirements in a clear and concise manner.

Indeed, it is not just members of the general public that seem to be confused.  As shown in the exchange below, which I obtained through an Access to Information Act request, some immigration lawyers are unclear of the requirements.  (Please note that what I have reproduced below should not be viewed as legal advice.  The reproduction of question and answer has not occurred with the affiliation of the Government of Canada, nor with the endorsement of the Government of Canada.)

Question – May 21, 2013

Dear Sir/ Madam,

I have been referred to your office, by Karen Flynn, of NHQ-Immigration in Ottawa, her phone number is _______.

I practice immigration law in Toronto, and I have the following question, regarding the Federal Skilled Worker Class, in light of the recent changes, in effect, as of May 4, 2013:

  • the IETLS benchmark is CLB 7, i.e. 6 points, for each ability. If the results of a foreign national are, for example, in 1, or 2, or 3 abilities in the CLB 8 or higher, but 1 ability, or 2, or 3, are at CLB 7level, can I give 5 or more points per ability, for the CLB 8, or higher, and 4 points, for the CLB 7 result, or once one of the results is in the CLB 7 area, all abilities can only receive 6 points, i.e. 16 points.

Basically, can I give points for each ability depending on where the ability is in the CLB range, e.g. 2 abilities are 6.0, and 2 abilities are 6.5, is the assessment 18 points or 16 points?

I look forward to your response.

Best regards,

Answer – May 22, 2013

Thank you for your inquiry.

As of May 4, 2013, all applicants under the Federal Skilled Worker Class must demonstrate that they meet the minimum language proficiency threshold of CLB 7 in all four language abilities.

As outlined in section 11.2 of the OP 6C operational manual, officers will award points for first official language proficiency based on the applicant’s demonstrated CLB level per language ability. For example, an applicant who had obtained CLB 7 in two language abilities and CLB 8 in the other two language abilities would be awarded a total of 18 points for first official language proficiency (4 points for each language ability in which their proficiency meets the minimum threshold+ 5 points for each language ability in which their proficiency exceeds the minimum threshold by one benchmark level).

There are three aspects of CIC’s response to the question above that I wish to elaborate on.  The first is where individuals can locate information about a program’s language requirements on the CIC website.  The second is the distinction between the Canadian Language Benchmark (“CLB”) and the IELTS bandscores, and how to calculate equivalence.  Finally, I will also address whether there are language requirements to becoming a temporary foreign worker.

The Languages Manual

The CIC website publishes all of its publicly available program manuals on its website here.  While there are some private manuals that can only be accessed through Access to Information Act requests, they probably only significantly impact to 5 – 10% of people interact with CIC. 

Operational bulletins and manuals - language

As shown in the image above, in order to simply its language requirements, CIC has consolidated its language requirements into a single, online manual on its website.  The languages manual is divided into the following sections:

Except for the language requirements for the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (“TFWP”), which is discussed below, the manuals above comprehensively describe most of the language requirements for CIC’s various programs.

CLB vs. IELTS

It is important that prospective applicants distinguish between their IELTS scores and the CLB.  This can be especially confusing to people considering that the scoring system looks similar.

The CLB is the national standard used in Canada for describing, measuring, and recognizing the English language proficiency of adult immigrants and prospective immigrants for living and working in Canada. It classifies English language ability according to 13 language benchmarks.

The IELTS are one of the language tests that the Respondent has designated as being an acceptable test to asses an applicant’s CLB.  There are nine IELTS band levels, and CIC has produced numerous charts on its website showing equivalencies of the 9 IELTS bands to the 13 CLB levels.

Language test equivalency charts

The distinction is important.  I occasionally meet individuals who did not apply for the Canadian Experience Class (“CEC”) because they were told that they needed a 5.0 in all language abilities.  While this is technically true, the “5.0 requirement” refers to CLB, not IELTS.  As shown above, an IELTS Listening Score of 4.0 is equal to a CLB score of 5.0.  Hence, these individuals erred in assuming that they were not eligible.  As the CEC has application caps, delaying applying to unnecessarily re-write the IELTS can have significant detrimental consequences.

The Temporary Foreign Worker Program

Many people mistakenly assume that the TFWP does not have language requirements.  Work Permit applicants accordingly often question CIC’s authority to request proof of language ability during the Work Permit application process, which is becoming increasingly common.

Section 8.3 of the CIC’s Temporary Foreign Worker Manual states:

 R 200 (3) (a) states that:

“An officer shall not issue a work permit to a foreign national if there are reasonable grounds to believe that the foreign national is unable to perform the work sought.”

Immigration officers should not limit their assessment of language, or other requirements to perform the work sought, solely to those described in the Labour Market Opinion (LMO). However, the language requirement stated in the LMO should be part of the officer’s assessment of the applicant’s ability to perform the specific work sought because it is the employer’s assessment on the language requirement(s) for the job.

Additionally, the officer can consider:

  • the specific work conditions and any arrangements the employer has made or has undertaken to make to accommodate the applicant’s limited ability in English or French and to address potential safety concerns if any; and
  • terms in the actual job offer, in addition to general requirements set out in the National Occupational Classification (NOC) description for the occupation. This is applied in assessing the extent to which weak official language skills could compromise the applicant’s “ability to perform the work sought”

An officer should NOT consider perceived challenges the applicant might face in interacting with the broader community, such as availing him/herself of community services, if this is not relevant to their job performance. Such a consideration is beyond the scope of the current legislation.

The same principles respecting official language capability and the applicant’s ability to perform the work sought apply irrespective of the skill level of the intended occupation. There is no separate standard or criteria for applicants at NOC skill levels C or D.

An applicant’s language ability can be assessed through an interview or official testing such as IELTS/TEF or in-house mission testing practice. In deciding to require proof of language ability, the officer’s notes should refer to the LMO requirements, working conditions as described in the job offer and NOC requirements for the specific occupation, in determining what precise level of language requirement is necessary to perform the work sought. System notes must clearly indicate the officer’s language assessment, and in the case of a refusal, clearly show a detailed analysis on how the applicant failed to satisfy the officer that h/she would be able to perform the work sought.

 

 


Biometric Travel Headaches

On December 1, 2013, I noted that Canada has introduced a biometric requirement for nationals of certain countries.  I wrote:

Biometrics is the measurement of unique physical characteristics, such as fingerprints and facial features, for the purpose of verifying identity. Citizenship and Immigration Canada’s (CIC’s) goal in requiring that certain foreign nationals provide biometrics is to make it more difficult for individuals to use another person’s identity, and to prevent criminals, deportees and previous failed refugee claimants from (re-)entering Canada using false identification.

By Dec. 11, citizens of the following countries will be required to give their biometrics (fingerprints and digital photograph) when they apply for a visitor visa, study permit or work permit: Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Bangladesh, Burma (Myanmar), Cambodia, Colombia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Egypt, Eritrea, Haiti, Iran, Iraq, Jamaica, Jordan, Laos, Libya, Nigeria, Pakistan, Palestinian Authority, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, South Sudan, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, Vietnam and Yemen.

Applicants from the above-listed countries will be required to go to a Visa Application Centre (VAC) or a visa office (if a VAC is not available) to give their fingerprints and have their photographs taken. Digital copies will be sent to the Royal Canadian Mountain Police and to CIC, who will then check the fingerprints against criminal, refugee and visa application records. When successful applicants arrive at Canadian ports of entry, the Canada Border Services Agency will use the photograph and/or fingerprint to verify the identity of individuals.

Because of the biometrics requirement, it will no longer be possible for people from the above-mentioned countries to submit paper applications directly to a Canadian embassy or consulate. Instead, these individuals will have to apply in person at VACs. Online applicants will also receive instructions to appear at a VAC to provide their fingerprints.

The biometrics fee will be $85 per person. This fee is in addition to the visa/permit application fee. Individuals will need to give their biometrics, and pay the fee, each time they apply for a visa or permit, making the value of multiple-entry visas that much greater.

CIC’s goal is that by 2014 there will be more than 133 VACs in 96 countries with biometric capabilities. Unfortunately, until this goal is realized, people in countries including Afghanistan, Egypt, Iraq, Iran and Vietnam will actually have to leave their country in order to provide their biometrics at a VAC or Canadian Consulate which has biometric capabilities.

Applicants under the age of 14, over the age of 80, diplomats and people who are already in Canada are exempt from the requirement.

Difficulty Obtaining Biometrics

As stated above, many of the countries whose citizens are required to provide biometrics to visit Canada do not actually have CIC-approved biometric collection facilities.  CIC is requiring that such individuals travel abroad to provide their fingerprints at acceptable facilities.  The CIC website has a useful Google Map which shows individuals where the nearest biometric collection facility is.

As shown below, the citizens of some countries will have some serious travelling to do if they want to apply for a visa to visit Canada.  Ironically, they will likely have to apply for visas to visit countries to give fingerprints to apply for a visa to visit Canada.

Country

Biometric Collection Point?

Nearest Biometric Collection Point

Afghanistan

No

Pakistan

Albania

Yes

 

Algeria

Yes

Bangladesh

Yes

Burma (Myanmar)

No

Cambodia

Cambodia

Yes

Colombia

Yes

Democratic Republic of Congo

No

Kenya

Egypt

Yes

Eritrea

No

Saudi Arabia

Haiti

Yes

Iran

No

United Arab Emirates

Iraq

No

Bahrain

Jamaica

Yes

Jordan

Yes

Laos

No

Vietnam

Lebanon

Yes

Libya

Yes

Nigeria

Yes

Pakistan

Yes

Palestinian Authority

No

Israel, Jordan

Saudi Arabia

Yes

Somalia

No

Kenya

South Sudan

No

Kenya

Sri Lanka

Yes

Sudan

No

Egypt

Syria

No

Israel, Turkey

Tunisia

Yes

Vietnam

Yes

Yemen

No

Saudi Arabia

 

Given this, it is difficult to see how many people from Afghanistan is going to be able to travel to Canada for the foreseeable future.  Is Turkey or Israel really going to admit Syrian nationals for the purpose of fingerprint submission? Will Iranians be able to travel to Abu Dhabi?

As well, citizens of the above countries who are currently abroad may find it difficult to submit their biometrics.  For example, I am representing a Pakistani national currently working in Oman.  He will have to travel to the United Arab Emirates to submit his fingerprints to then apply for a visa to visit Canada.  The table below shows how far apart the biometric collection facilities currently are.

Country

Biometric Collection Point?

Nearest Office

Argentina

No

Ecuador

Brazil

No

Guyana

Chile

No

Ecuador

Japan

No

Mongolia

Russia

No

Georgia, Mongolia

Some individuals have quipped that the decision to implement a biometric requirement prior to ensuring that biometric collection facilities were in place is the Government of Canada’s way of indirectly limiting the number of people from these countries who visit Canada.  Others have even written that there may be racial intonations behind the biometric requirement.  While I do not believe that this was the government’s motivation, it is difficult to see how the current situation will result in anything but the door to Canada being closed completely shut on the citizens of certain countries. 


Change to Age of Dependency Pushed Back

Citizenship and Immigration Canada is informing immigration representatives that the proposed reduction in the age of dependency from 22 to 18 is being pushed back.  (The same is rumoured to true for proposed changes to the study permit system.)

The e-mail that CIC is sending out reads:

Dear Sir/Madam:

Thank-you for your query.

Please be advised that a proposal to reduce the age of dependents from under 22 to under 19 was pre-published in the Canada Gazette Part I on May 18, 2013, along with the proposed regulatory changes to the PGP program.  The proposal to change the age of dependent children will not be coming into force at the time the PGP program re-opens on January 2, 2014.

Trusting this addresses your concerns.

As noted previously in this blog, currently, the children of immigrants may immigrate to Canada with their parents if they are under the age of 22.  As well, young adults over the age of 22 who have been continuous full-time students since turning 22 may also accompany their parents.

Under the proposed change, the maximum age of dependants will be reduced to 18 years of age for all immigration programs.  There will be no exception for full-time post-secondary students.  The only exception will be for those who are financially dependent on their parents due to a mental or physical disability.


Procedural Fairness Owed by Provincial Nomination Programs to “Fraudulent” Consultants

The Saskatchewan Queen’s Bench (the “Court“) in Kaberwal v. Saskatchewan (Economy), 2013 SKQB 244 has released a decision clarifying the procedural fairness owed by provincial nomination programs to immigration representatives accused of fraud.  To the best of my knowledge, it is the first decision on this issue.

The Facts of the Case

On December 31, 2012, Saskatchewan’s Ministry of Economy, Immigration Services (the “Ministry“) suspended an immigration consultant’s (the “Consultant“) right to submit applications to the Saskatchewan Immigration Nominee Program (“SINP“) for a period of two years.  SINP officials accused the Consultant of fabricating job offers for employers who informed SINP that they never saw or signed the job offers that the Consultant submitted to SINP without their knowledge.

The Ministry sent the Consultant a letter which, amongst other things, stated the following:

We have reviewed seven job offers from Saskarc Industries that you submitted on behalf of seven applicants that have you listed as the third party representative. Part of the review of the application includes verifying the validity of the documents and information included in the application. As a representative, you have signed and agreed to the Saskatchewan Immigrant Nominee Program (SINP)’s Code of Conduct for Representatives which states that you will provide truthful, accurate and complete information to the SINP and that you will be personally accountable to the SINP for all aspects of the application.

Our view of job offers from Saskarc Industries Inc. included contacting the company to confirm their validity. Our conversations with Saskarc revealed that they did not issue these seven job offers and they are not written in their standard format. Furthermore, they have indicated that these job offers are fraudulent.

….

We would like to give you an opportunity to respond to this information. We will afford you 30 days from the date of this letter to make any representations in this regard and to provide any reliable and verifiable evidence that you did not provide fraudulent information to the SINP. If it is determined that you have submitted fraudulent information to the SINP, you will be unable to act as a representative of any person(s) wishing to access our programs and services, including the SINP, for a period to be determined by myself. Additionally, all applications that are currently in process that list you as a third party representative will be returned and those that have been nominated will be reviewed to ensure that all information submitted is bona fide.

The Consultant, who did not retain counsel, responded, stating that:

I am writing in response to your letter dated August 2012 regarding the employer SASKARC INDUSTRIES INC.

Carl was HR of Saskarc Industries a year ago and he signed the offer for Welders and Fitters and at that time he was looking for 7-8 welders fitters and after that I didn’t contacted (sic) the company as we submitted the files and we are waiting for any reply from SINP office. And in second week of August 2012 I called the company to get an update and to find out if offers were still valid than (sic) I came to know that Roberta is HR of the company. Then I talked to Roberta and explained everything about the offers signed by Carl and I adviced (sic) her to do online registration and she did online registration as well.

Then on August 19th I left for India and when I came back I got this letter from your office. When I contacted Roberta she explained (sic) me that she was not aware of offers given by Carl and she signed 12 more offer (sic) and out of 3 or 4 already got nominations.

..

The format of offer letters was different because we always used this format for all files submitted by our office to SINP, which Carl had signed and the offer given by Roberta might have different format.

On December 31, the Ministry informed the Consultant that SINP was prohibiting the Consultant from submitting applications for two years.  The Ministry wrote:

Thank you for responding to the letter sent to you by the Program Integrity Unit (PIU) dated August 14, 2012. The letter was issued in order to give you the opportunity to respond to PIU findings that seven job offers from Saskarc Industries that you submitted on behalf of seven applicants that have been found to be fraudulent.

The PIU has confirmed with Saskarc Industries that while they did have a signed agreement with you, they did not sign these job offers and that they are fraudulent. Furthermore, they have indicated that all job offers issued by their office are on letterhead.

Based on this information the PIU has determined that you knowingly submitted fraudulent job offers to SINP. As a result of the foregoing, we will not accept any applications for any other programs and services, including the SINP, where you are indicted (sic) as the representative for a period of two years from the date of this letter.

SINP then informed the Consultant that applications in which she was the representative that SINP was currently processing would be returned to the prospective nominees with a letter informing the individuals that SINP was no longer accepting applications filed on their behalf by the Consultant.

No oral or in-person hearing was conducted by the Ministry.

The Consultant testified that the Ministry’s decision cost her 70% of her business.

Did the Ministry breach the duty of procedural fairness owed to Kaberwal by failing to hold an oral hearing before making its decision?

The Consultant argued that the Ministry had an obligation to hold an oral hearing before rendering its decision and in failing to do so breached the duty of fairness owed to her.  The Ministry argues that the Consultant was not entitled to an oral hearing.

The Court confirmed that the audi alterum partem principle, which requires a decision maker to provide adequate opportunity for those affected by a decision to present their case and respond to the case against them, does not confer an unqualified right to an oral hearing unless otherwise stipulated by statute.  Rather, what is required is that parties be given the opportunity to put forward their arguments.  Furthermore, unless otherwise prescribed by statute, the content of input rights (i.e. written submissions vs. oral hearing) is at the discretion of the decision-maker subject to the supervisory role of the court to review the propriety of that choice.

Citing Baker v. Canada, the Court noted that the factors relevant to the scope of participatory rights include:

1) the nature of the decision being made and the process followed in making it;

2) the nature of the statutory scheme;

3) the importance of the decision to the individual affected;

4) the legitimate expectation of the person challenging the decision in relation to the procedure to be followed, and

5) the choice of procedure made by the agency itself and institutional constraints particularly where the statute limits the decision-making ability to chose its own procedures.

The Nature of the Decision

The Court found that generally where the credibility of witnesses is considered relevant, its importance to the process often weighs in favour of holding an oral hearing.  If a tribunal’s decision may turn on findings of fact made from conflicting evidence or on the credibility of witnesses, there may be a right to an oral hearing and cross-examination of those witnesses. Where only the credibility of the individual affected is in issue, that party should be heard orally, even though the rest of the hearing may be conducted in writing.  If none of the important facts are in dispute and there is no “accuser” to be questioned, an oral hearing may not be necessary. If there is sufficient evidence on which to make a decision, other than the evidence on which credibility is an issue, an oral hearing is not necessary.

In this case, the Court held that the allegation of fraud was a serious matter based on credibility, that it is generally considered difficult to prove, and that this favored an oral hearing.

The Statutory Scheme

As noted by Court, SINP has no statutory basis and its officials do not exercise any statutory authority.  Its processes, forms, guidelines, criteria, requirements, evaluation and decision making, etc., are all created and governed by broad based ministerial policy.  As such, there is no statutory scheme applicable to SINP and thus no statutory appeal or other safeguarding processes open to the Consultant. The decision rendered was final and decisive, and this favored the granting of an oral hearing.

The Importance of the Decision

There was no question about the importance of the decision to the Consultant.  She lost 70% of her business, and her reputation was ruined.  In the legal and consulting industry, a poor reputation undermines both present and future relationships, referrals and business interests.

Legitimate Expectations

In the absence of a statutory scheme, the Court found that it was unclear what process the Consultant expected the Ministry to follow. There appeared to be no known track record for how a Provincial Nomination Program would conduct an investigation, receive, assess and weigh information provided by those affected, or how to resolve discrepancies of evidence.

Limitations Imposed by Statute

The Court reiterated that despite there being no statutory scheme governing investigations, third party allegations, degree of participatory input and ultimate decision making for the Ministry, the Ministry consciously choose to follow the written submission format without any direct in-person meetings.  There was no suggestion the Ministry possessed any particular expertise in developing its choice of process.

Result

The Court stated:

Balancing the aforementioned factors, [the Consultant] should have been given an in-person hearing. It is unnecessary for the format of the actual hearing to conform to the traditional trappings of the judicial process so long as [the Consultant] had a meaningful opportunity to challenge the evidence and credibility of Carl Hodgson and Roberta Taylor, and a meaningful opportunity to respond.  It was equally important for Kaberwal to have been informed of the precise evidence relied upon by the Ministry in making its findings of fraud.

Interestingly, the Court also found that it could not order SINP to issue a retraction letter to the Consultant’s clients.


Environmental Overview – Accra

The following is a summary of the Environmental Overview of the immigration functions at the Canadian High Commission in Accra (the “Environmental Overview”).  The Environmental Overview was prepared as part of the Citizenship and Immigration Canada 2013-2014 planning exercise, and is current as of January 2013.

Environment

The Canadian High Commission in Accra (“CIC Accra”) provides visa services to residents of Ascension, Benin, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea-Conakry, Liberia, Nigeria (permanent residents only), Sao Tome and Principe, Sierra Leone, St. Helena, Togo, and Tristan da Cunha.

Contrary to popular misconception, CIC Accra has no role in managing the Lagos Visa Office.  Notwithstanding that, since the fall of 2012, an officer from CIC Accra has assisted the Lagos Visa Office in processing temporary resident applications on two occasions for a total period of four weeks.  Upon return from one visit, the officer brought approximately 200 Temporary Resident Visa files from the Lagos Visa Office to CIC Accra.  Original passports were left in the Lagos Visa Office and visas were remotely printed there.

Quality Assurance

The last half of 2012 witnessed several changes to the Immigration Program at CIC Accra.  All permanent resident visas are issued by the Immigration Program Manager to ensure procedures and decision-making are consistent and fair.  Interview waiver citeria have been put in place to better triage and risk-manage Family Class cases and reduce processing times, when previously all cases were called to interview without exception.  The use of DNA tests has been limited to the exception rather than the rule.  Temporary resident processing times have been amended from same-day to five days.

[In 2013], Accra will implement two important quality assurance activities, as follows:

1) Our current inventory of refugee (CR) application is in disarray.  A significant number of files have been in process for many years.  A review of all CR cases in our inventory (approximately 170 persons) will be undertaken to determine if key processing stages were reliable, consistent, timely and procedurally fair.  To this end, a detailed refugee processing checklist will be developed to assess files currently in process and get them back on track and assist staff in processing new applications.

2) Accra has a complicated and aging Business Class inventory of mostly Nigerian applicants (621 persons).  Many of these cases have been or are currently the subject of litigation.

Permanent Resident Program

In 2012, CIC Accra issued 3,286 visas.

The officer/PA team structure that previously existed in the office has been dismantled, with all categories of permanent resident files being managed according to stage of process by a single team of officers, Case Analysts, and PAs, ensuring a degree of randomness in assigning files and better consistency in processing. All permanent resident visas are currently issued by the IPM to ensure procedures and decision-making are consistent and fair and to support shared workload in the office. Interview waiver criteria have been put in place to better triage and risk manage family class cases and improve processing times, when previously all cases were called to interview without exception. Currently, the FS01 CBS in Accra is supervising the processing of all economic and family class applications with the support of two LE06 case analysts and two LE04 program assistants; the DIO in Accra reports to the IPM; the FS02 CBS is managing the processing of all refugee classes.

Economic immigrants represent approximately 49% of CIC Accra’s inventory.  Approval rates in 2012 were 75%.  Processing times for 80% of the total economic class cases finalized in 2012 was 31 months.

CIC Accra’s overall approval rate for the total family class cases in 2012 was 59%.  Processing times for 80% of all family class cases in 2012 was 12 months.

Temporary Resident Program

CIC Accra made changes to its temporary resident processing times in the fall of 2012.

Previously, applications submitted in person were processed on a same-day basis, leading to significant unpredictability in workload pressures and difficulty in prioritising files in other categories. Offering same-day service was out-of-sync with the standards of other missions in the region, where processing times range from eight to 11 days. As the implementation of a VAC in the region will ultimately put an end to same-day service, extending processing times now will smooth that transition for our applicants and help manage client expectations. Advertised temporary resident processing times are now seven to 14 business days for visitors and 14 to 28 business days for study and work permit applications. The additional processing window has provided officers with the opportunity to better triage high-risk files, identify trends, and target cases for anti-fraud verifications.

CIC Accra approved 52% of 5,162 Temporary Resident Visa applications that it processed in 2012.  Applicants with connections to mining and other extractive industries, in particular, are brought to the attention of the Immigration Program Manager is a refusal is being considered so that additional information can be sought form the mission Trade Commissioner.

CIC Accra received 830 study permit applications in 2012, and approved 46% of them.  Eighty percent of all cases were processed in 28 days or less.

Establishing that applicants have sufficient financial support to pay for their studies in Canada is one of the key issues of concern when assessing Study Permit applications submitted in Accra. Officers are beginning to recognise that family and affective bonds extend much further here than they do in the western context, and that it is not unusual for friends and extended relatives to sponsor young people to undertake their studies abroad. Officers have been directed to take this cultural element into account when assessing funding sources. We have also refined our Study Permit application checklist somewhat in the hopes that officers might be able to gather additional information that will boost their confidence when reviewing study permit files. In particular, we have asked applicants to complete a thorough study plan and submit it with their applications so officers can better understand their motivations and aspirations. Our hope is that a more detailed study plan will help officers understand better not only the applicant’s intentions but also the willingness of the extended family to lend support.

CIC Accra processed 217 Work Permit applications in 2012.  The approval rate was 52%, with 80% of cases being processed in 46 days or less.