INCREASED SECURITY MEASURES COMING SOON!
Changes to Biometrics Collection Requirement for Temporary and Permanent Resident Applications
Every country debates how to balance the interests of its government and citizens against those of immigrants hoping to become part of a new nation. Increasingly, many nations are choosing to increase security, making the requirements for immigrants more strict. Changes are being made to the personal information that temporary and permanent residence applicants will be required to provide. These changes are expected to take effect on July 31, 2018. And the proposed changes say a lot about the government’s desire to control who comes to Canada and the importance of submitting an accurate application.
What changes are being made to the regulations?
According to the Regulatory Impact Analysis Statement in the Canada Gazette, a change was made to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act in June 2015 “which expanded the biometrics collection requirement to include all persons applying for temporary or permanent residence under the Act and provided the authority to establish regulations to implement the legislative change.” This change will soon be brought into effect.
With some exceptions, starting in July, all applicants for temporary or permanent residence between the ages of 14-79 will be required to provide biometric information to prove their identities and admissibility. The biometrics concerned are fingerprints and photographs. Biometric information collected for immigration applications will be considered valid for ten years, in the interests of making any further applications made by individuals who provide their information and pay for the collection of their data easier and more cost-effective.
What will be done with this information?
This change is spurred on by increased security in other countries, an increase in how many immigration applications Canada needs to process, changes in international travel patterns, and the development of more sophisticated methods of identity fraud. The government anticipates that these changes will make it easier for Canada to screen out those who are inadmissible, such as those with issues of criminality, earlier in the process; catch those who have misrepresented themselves on their applications; and allow Immigration to identify individuals who have made previous applications or have previously been deported.
This information isn’t intended to stay within Canada, either. Part of the plan is to increase the sharing of biometric information between Canada and the United States. Furthermore, Canada will introduce biometric information sharing with Australia, the United Kingdom, and New Zealand.
Concerns about privacy have been anticipated, and Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada has been working with the Office of the Privacy Commissioner to ensure that biometric data will be stored securely. Ultimately, though, the government will have increased information about applicants, whether they are successful or not.
Exceptions and Exemptions
Some individuals will be exempt from providing this biometric information due to profession, nationality, or the implausibility/impossibility of providing the required data. For example, U.S. nationals applying for temporary residence, visa-exempt visitors, and accredited diplomats will not be required to provide biometric data. And full or partial exemption will be made for those for whom it would not be reasonable to have to provide this information because of urgency or medical issues. Exemptions for an applicant may be done case-by-case or for all that individual’s current and future applications, depending on the circumstances.
Individuals over 79 will only be required to provide biometric data if they make a claim for refugee protection, as fingerprints can start to deteriorate later in life.
Finally, if you already possess a valid visa, permit, or temporary or permanent resident status prior to the dates when these changes will begin to be enforced, you won’t need to supply the biometrics information required under the new regulations.
What does this mean for applicants trying to complete applications on their own?
The accuracy of the information you provide to Immigration is key to whether you will have a good chance at success with your application. As this proposed regulatory change shows, Canada takes immigration fraud very seriously.
These changes show an increased focus on the validity of the information provided by applicants, the regulations for which are already strict (as are the penalties). Information sharing between countries will make misrepresenting personal history even more difficult for fraudsters as well as increase the scrutiny for those who might make innocent errors. And for those who have made legal mistakes in their past, the increased awareness of applicants’ criminal histories will make being transparent about these issues extra important.
What we can do to help
If you are concerned as to whether you are doing everything you can to avoid accusations of misrepresentation, an immigration consultant can help. We know what Immigration requires, how to avoid errors that could cost you your visa or permit, and what extra information to include to help make your application more persuasive. Our professional knowledge can also be used to find alternative legal paths for those who might be otherwise unable to immigrate due to criminal inadmissibility. We keep up with the latest immigration news, such as proposed regulatory changes like this one, to help our clients stay informed and reduce the barriers in their way.
We’re here to help with your application; contact us to get started on your journey or call as at 647 342 7301 today.