Environmental Overview – Lagos

The following is a summary of the Environmental Overview of the immigration functions at the Canadian Embassy in Lagos (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.

The quoted areas below are all copy/paste from the Environmental Overview.

Environment

The Canadian Embassy in Lagos (“CIC Lagos”) provides temporary resident visa services to citizens of Nigeria.  The Canadian High Commission in Accra is responsible for processing permanent resident applications from Nigeria.

Relationships with the Nigerian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) were quite strained due to lengthy visa processing times in the fall of 2012.

The recent announcement of biometric imposition for Nigeria effective October 2013 has not improved the bilateral relationship.

Modernization

As of January 2013, CIC Lagos appeared to be experiencing significant resource issues.

Although the LES and ELES staff are able to navigate through GCMS to get the work done, There is an urgent requirement for more in-depth training on best practices and streamlining of various processing steps so to increase efficiency and capacity in this office. At the moment, planning and scheduling for training is extremely difficult due to the current ongoing backlog of applications in Lagos.

Lagos cannot yet comment on the effect of thee-application (e-app) process which was introduced worldwide on 15DEC2012. To date, due to the current backlog of applications, processing on e-apps has not yet begun.

CIC Lagos has stopped accepting applications completed by hand.

In November 2012, Accra assisted Lagos with regional TD. In order to assist in reducing Lagos’ inventory of cases, as many TR files as possible were sent with the returning CBO officer to Accra for processing. All original documents and the original passports had to be retained in Lagos. 200 files were sent to Accra as excess baggage (at a cost of $36 CAD). Although the assistance with processing was greatly appreciated, too much time was required to sort and log which files were being transferred and to ensure that no original documents were included. One ELES spent almost three full days preparing the files for transfer to Accra.

Under the Records Management section, it was noted that:

Due to high humidity in Lagos, there is a growing issue with mould forming on the older files in storage. A fan is kept on full time in order to control humidity level but this does little to avoid the problem.

Workforce Management

Currently, the main pressing HR challenge in Lagos is the difficulty in finding reliable staff to work as ELES. At present, ELES are referred by current or former visa section employees. The IPM is exploring options with other foreign embassies and consulates in Lagos for reliable LES who may be employable (including foreign diplomatic spouses). The recent termination of one LES employee will require the planning and execution of a competitive process, right at the beginning of the peak season for visa applications.

It is quite challenging to manage workload with only two CBOs (this basically means a CBO cannot take sick leave so as not to affect the only one other remaining CBO in the office). Scheduling annual leave for CBOs is quite challenging. Any leave taken by LES (usually a minimum of 10 days at a time) is also a drain on output as there is currently very little depth to backfill positions.

OT for the CBOs is done almost on a daily basis, on Friday afternoons and on most Saturdays.

The Visa Section would benefit from having one more CBO decision maker, to reduce the pressure on the other CBOs, as well as at least one LEOS or even LE06 case analyst for student processing. The volumes of applications received have steadily been increasing. Despite modernization 0/AC, e-apps), it is quite challenging to maintain even average service standards. It is also very difficult to find reliable LES and ELES candidates. There is an increased risk of burn out for the CBOs and LES at the current rate.

Temporary Resident Program

The number of Temporary Resident Visa applications to CIC Lagos has soared.

Apart from the increasing caseload, challenges include dealing with almost daily complaints regarding lengthy processing times, more pressure to fast track applications from the other programs (Trade, Political), an increasing number of daily gate inquiries. As a result of the lengthy processing times (Lagos was dealing with a backlog of 5,000 applications in August 2012), The issue of lengthy processing times was also reported on in the local media.

 

The average processing time is between 6 weeks to 3 months.

The approval rate is around 50%. 

In order to prove travel overseas, applicants with no travel history have resorted to acquiring complete counterfeit/altered genuine or fantasy visa packages. This fraud is fairly simple to identify, however the resulting procedural fairness and A40 processes are time consuming (since AUG2012, 90 cases have been refused A40 and almost 20 more are pending finalization). Due to time constraints, not all cases with identified fraud result in A40 refusals; cases are at time simply refused.

There are a small number of urgent and sensitive cases, flagged either by email or in person. When possible, these cases are finalized within a few days. Lagos has also seen half a dozen requests for facilitation visas. DNA testing is mandatory for these cases.

The Study Permit approval rate is around 40%.  Main areas of concern include available and unencumbered funds and reliable documents.

The Niger Delta Amnesty Program was developed in order to try to put an end to the militancy in the Delta region, educate the former militants and ensure they are “employable” by providing some form of training so they can eventually work. The program has been going on for several years with little success apparently. Several countries (UK and USA) have refused to accept any more of these students due to the potential of inadmissibility due to the background of the applicants as former militants. These cases will be very problematic due to the potential inadmissibility (declared or not) of the applicants as former militants.

Applicants are being advised to apply for Study Permits 4-6 months before their studies begin.

Of the 196 Work Permit cases finalized, only 38% were approved.  Applications are usually reviewed four months after receipt.

The approval rate for Live-in Caregivers was 20%.


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