Certain immigration services that are not available virtually will begin to resume on September 21.
Canada’s immigration department also known as IRCC are testing out the new protocols and procedures for offering in-person services during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The In-person services being offered next week include:
- Citizenship: Vancouver Expo will be resuming for citizenship knowledge re-testing and citizenship hearing for a select group of applicants. IRCC will schedule appointments by email.
- Permanent residence: IRCC offices will resume for permanent residence-related services in Montreal, Quebec, and Etobicoke, Ontario. People who need to do their permanent residence interview or pick up their permanent residence card, will be contacted by IRCC through email to schedule an appointment.
- Asylum: Limited asylum-related services will reopen at IRCC offices in Hamilton, Calgary, Edmonton, and Niagara Falls. IRCC will schedule appointments through the post, Canada Post’s online service, with clients who need to submit or collect documents, provide their biometric information, or present themselves for an interview. They also say that if the pilot “goes well” they will resume offices to provide asylum services in Montreal, Vancouver (Hornby), and Etobicoke in the future.
“Canada’s immigration department will contact clients to book appointment based on their file status, location in Canada and other factors,” the immigration department’s media release said that, “Client selection is largely based on the date of the client’s application.”
IRCC will only allow immigration applicants to use in-person services if they have a scheduled appointment.
Canada’s immigration department will also restart biometrics appointments. Permanent residence applicants in Canada waiting to give biometrics will receive a phone call from Service Canada over the next few weeks to book an appointment.
People living in an area where more people are waiting to give biometrics, such as the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), may have to wait for a little while for the call, IRCC says.
“We know that this is a frustrating and challenging time and we are grateful for your patience,” IRCC says. “Service Canada will contact you as soon as possible.”
They also warn that permanent residence candidates waiting on biometrics should not visit Service Canada Centre unless they are called for an appointment.
Applicants whose contact details have changed or if they had a representative apply on their behalf can update their information on the IRCC webform.
Safety measures at IRCC offices
In an effort to protect IRCC staffs and clients from the novel coronavirus, the following safety measures are being put in place:
- Clients will be asked to complete a Health Canada self-assessment questionnaire before going in for an appointment.
- These questions will be asked again when clients arrive at the IRCC office and can determine if clients can enter the premises.
- Everyone must wear a face mask, maintain social distance protocol, and follow signs directing the flow of foot traffic.
- If clients appear sick, they will be asked to reschedule their appointment.
IRCC shut down services on March 18 in response to the COVID-19 outbreak. In the past few months, immigration services have been offered online where possible but services have been significantly limited.
The Public Health Agency of Canada and regional health agencies set the guideline and recommendations for operating services during the coronavirus pandemic. IRCC is also monitoring the offices where in-person services are rendered to help plan for the reopening of more services in the nearest future.