Canada’s immigration authorities are taking the first tentative steps towards in-person services suspended since March due to the coronavirus crisis.
All in-person services, at select Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) offices, will be available by appointment only.
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An IRCC statement said the limited return of services is considered a ‘testing phase’.
“This testing phase will allow us to assess our protocols and procedures, and ensure the safety of our staff and our clients,” the statement said.
“The lessons learned will help us plan for reopening services more widely in the future.”
Services resuming during the testing phase are as follows:
Vancouver Expo is reopening for citizenship-related services, including citizenship knowledge re-testing and citizenship hearings.
IRCC offices in Etobicoke and Montreal are reopening for permanent residence-related services including PR card pick up and PR determination interviews.
IRCC offices in Calgary, Edmonton, Hamilton, and Niagara Falls are reopening for limited asylum-related services, for candidates who need to collect or submit documents, provide their biometric information, or come in for an interview.
If this pilot goes well, IRCC offices in Vancouver (Hornby), Montreal and Etobicoke will open in the future.
Permanent residence applicants in Canada waiting to give biometrics will receive a Service Canada call over the next few months to book a biometrics appointment.
In regions where more candidates are waiting to give biometrics, such as the Greater Toronto Area, it may take longer to receive a call, IRCC says.