The Canadian Embassy in Nairobi

Photo of the Canadian embassy, designed by J.L. Richard

Spokesmen for the Canadian embassy in Nairobi recently gave an interesting presentation to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration.  The speakers were MB, the Program Manager, LC, the head of the permanent resident processing unit, and TD, the Operations Manager.

The Nairobi office is responsible for 18 countries, including Kenya, Ethiopia, Uganda, Mauritius, Somalia, Ethiopia, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda, Burundi, the Comoros Islands, Djibouti,  Eritrea, Madagascar, the Congo, Reunion, the Seychelles, and Tanzania.

Personnel

There are currently 12 Canadian officers at the Nairobi embassy, including two Canada Border Services Agency officers, and one medical officer.  There are three locally engaged officers with decision-making authority, and 33 other locally engaged staff.  There is also a full-time anti-fraud officer.

In addition to the staff at Nairobi, there are also locally engaged staff working at offices in Addis Ababa and in Kinshasa.  There is also a Canadian consulate in Kigali, and honorary consulates in Kampala, Burundi, Djibouti, and Madagascar.

Statistics

  • In 2010 Nairobi processed more than 1,800 family class cases, nearly 1,400 refugee cases, approximately 500 skilled worker cases, and about 11,700 applications for work, student, or visitor visas.
  • The current processing time for family class priority applications is 29 months.
  • Nairobi does not waive interview for more than 50% of family class cases.
  • The client service unit has a standard of five days to respond to incoming e-mails.
  • The current inventory of privately sponsored refugees is 8,000.
  • Each decision maker makes an average of 860 decisions on permanent residents a year.
  • Mauritius currently accounts for most of the Federal Skilled Worker Applications processed in Nairobi.

Key Issues

During the presentation, the following issues were described as being the key issues facing the embassy:

  • Difficulty establishing and maintaining contact with applicants due to poor infrastructure in the region;
  • A growing interest, and a corresponding increasing amount of fraud, in applicants adding dependents that may not actually be family class members;
  • There is an increasing amount of fraud in the privately sponsored refugee movement, and the current rejection rate is around 50%.
  • State documentation is weak.  In Somalia, for example, civil documentation has not been available for at least 10 years.

Conclusion

Our office already gets detailed statistics on application processing times and success rates for each immigration category at the Nairobi embassy.  This presentation to the Standing Commitee provided an interesting insight into the faces and issues behind those success rates.