Certain applicants for Canada permanent residence have been exempted from providing biometrics in a new measure designed to mitigate the impact of coronavirus restrictions.
The exemption, announced in a public policy effective September 22, covers permanent residence applicants who previously provided biometrics within the last 10 years.
Foreign nationals who are both inside or outside Canada are covered by the exemption.
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“As a result of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, most biometrics collection service points were temporarily closed,” said a statement from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).
“There is uncertainty as to when the full complement of biometric collection services in Canada and overseas will reopen and operate at full capacity.
“In the meantime, there is a growing inventory of applications for permanent residence that cannot be finalized because applicants are unable to fulfill the biometrics requirement.”
In order to qualify for the exemption, candidates must have:
- A pending or new application for permanent residence.
- Previously provided their biometrics within 10 years of the date of their PR application.
The new policy became operational on September 22 and is in effect until revoked by federal Immigration Minister Marco Mendicino.
The latest policy follows a June 5 move to exempt certain temporary foreign workers crucial to the battle against coronavirus from having to submit biometrics before arrival.
The exemption applies to occupations in the following fields:
- Agricultural and agri-food
- Truck drivers
The number of candidates affected by the change will be limited, as the majority of temporary workers in essential occupations have already given biometrics because they have previously worked in Canada.
Candidates may be asked to provide biometrics when they arrive at their Port of Entry, IRCC says.