ARCHIVED – Operational Bulletin 119 – June 3, 2009 (expired)

This section contains policy, procedures and guidance used by IRCC staff. It is posted on the department’s website as a courtesy to stakeholders.

Sri Lanka Initiative – Applications for Family Class Members and Dependants of in-Canada Permanent Residence Applicants Affected by the Current Humanitarian Situation

This Operational Bulletin has expired. Please refer to manual FW 1 – Foreign Worker Manual for current information.


In response to the situation in Sri Lanka, the Case Processing Centres (CPCs) and the Canadian High Commission in Colombo, Sri Lanka, will expedite the processing of new and existing applications from:

  • Canadian citizens, permanent residents and protected persons who have close family members in Sri Lanka (specifically, spouses, common-law and conjugal partners, dependent children, parents, grandparents and orphaned family members) who identify themselves as being directly and significantly affected by the current humanitarian situation and who notify Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC).

Current situation

  • If sponsors notify the Department, CIC will expedite the processing of existing family class applications for family members who self-identify as being directly and significantly affected by the situation in Sri Lanka. Staff at CPCs, the Call Centre, CIC local offices and the visa office in Colombo are not required to determine the degree to which an applicant is affected.
  • The onus for this initiative is on sponsors and in-Canada applicants to contact the Call Centre if their sponsored relatives, or dependants included for concurrent processing, reside in Sri Lanka and are directly and significantly affected by the current situation. They should seek to have these applications identified from the inventory at the CPCs. Sponsors and in-Canada applicants should also tell their relatives to contact the Canadian High Commission in Colombo.
  • The visa office cannot take the initiative to contact displaced family members. Visa officers will not have access to camps in the northern region. Individuals with permanent residence (PR) visa applications may receive travel passes from Sri Lankan authorities and may be allowed to travel to Colombo. However, visa officers cannot facilitate this process.
  • Once the sponsor has contacted CIC, the sponsored applicants will have a higher processing priority assigned to their applications. Sponsored applicants and dependants included for concurrent processing will need to be available in Colombo for medical examination and, if required, an interview. They will also need to meet the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA) requirements, including the requirement for security screening. Humanitarian and compassionate factors can be examined and should be brought to the attention of the visa office for consideration.
  • Visa officers will continue to issue permanent and temporary resident visas to Sri Lankan applicants who meet the requirements of IRPA. In-Canada applications for extension of temporary resident status will be processed in the usual manner.
  • There can be no guarantee as to when an application will be finalized since many factors can influence the length of time required to process the application. CIC is closely monitoring the situation as it evolves and will continue its practice of responding in a flexible and humane manner and endeavor to complete these applications as quickly as possible.


New sponsorship applications

New sponsorship applications should have “SRI LANKA” written on the mailing envelope. Such applications will be assigned a higher processing priority. Nevertheless, all sponsorship requirements must be met. Incomplete applications will be handled as usual.

The CPC will carefully consider self-identified requests from sponsors with relatives in Sri Lanka. It remains the sponsor’s and/or applicant’s responsibility to complete all the required steps (including being available for interviews, medical examination, etc.).

Existing applications at the CPCs or local offices

Sponsors and in-Canada permanent residence applicants must identify existing applications which include persons residing in Sri Lanka who have been directly and significantly affected by the situation, by notifying the CIC Call Centre.

They must provide information regarding their application and their relatives in Sri Lanka (including the HPM receipt number). This information will be forwarded to the appropriate CPC or inland local office, which will retrieve the application and take appropriate action.

Upon notification that the file has been forwarded to the visa office, the onus is on the sponsor or in-Canada applicant to inform the overseas relative(s) to contact the visa office (see below).

The in-Canada confirmation of PR appointments for protected persons “ready for landing” at the local offices, will be facilitated in order to expedite visa issuance to dependants in Colombo.

Applications at visa office in Colombo, Sri Lanka, for overseas assessment

Where possible, family class applicants who are in Sri Lanka, and whose sponsor has informed CIC that they are directly and significantly affected by the situation, should contact the visa office in Colombo (contact details are available at

The office will begin processing family class applications from applicants who contact the office. They will expeditiously review the PR applications of applicants who appear in person at the office.

All immigration requirements, including security and medical admissibility, must be met. Applicants must ensure that they are available for an interview, if necessary.

Relatives in Sri Lanka have been displaced

If applicants are displaced as a result of the situation, it is difficult for the visa office to contact them. Applicants should be informed to notify the visa office in Colombo of their new location as soon as possible.

Note: If an application has been identified by the sponsor and the visa office is unable to reach the family member(s) within 180 days, the application will be closed. The appropriate CPC will be notified of the file closure. For detailed instructions, please refer to OP 2, section 7.6 (for sponsorship applications) or OP 24, section 7.4 (PDF, 221.88 KB) (for in-Canada PR applications).

Medical and security requirements

The safety and security of Canada remains CIC’s top priority. All immigration requirements, including security and medical criteria, must still be met.

Cases which require further investigation will be processed as usual. Visa officers must continue to follow established security screening protocols.

Processing fees

There is no fee exemption unless already prescribed by IRPA and its regulations.

Expiry of initiative

This initiative will be reviewed six months from the publication date of this bulletin. Unless a new bulletin extending the initiative is published within seven months of the date of this bulletin, it will expire seven months from the publication date.

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