ARCHIVED – Operational Bulletin 158 – October 1, 2009 (expired)

This section contains policy, procedures and guidance used by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada staff. It is posted on the Department’s website as a courtesy to stakeholders.

Guidelines for Priority Processing – Response to Typhoon Ketsana affecting the Philippines

This Operational Bulletin has expired.

Update

The guidelines for priority processing are ending, effective Monday, November 30th, 2009.

Applications received by November 30th, 2009, will be processed under the guidelines below. If the application meets the requirements of the measures, applicants will be eligible for priority processing.

All applications received after November 30th, 2009, will be processed according to standard procedures.

Background

The Immigration and Refugee Protection Act provides sufficient discretion to respond in a flexible and humane manner to emergency situations. Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) will maintain the best possible service to those in the affected areas throughout the initial period of recovery.

In response to the situation in the Philippines as a result of Typhoon Ketsana, CIC is providing the following guidelines for priority processing.

Procedures

Permanent Residents

Effective immediately, priority processing will be applied to new and existing applications from Canadian citizens, permanent residents and protected persons who have close family members in the Philippines (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 situation and who notify CIC.

Visa offices are asked to pull the applications of affected persons to the front of the queue for review. Please note that it remains the applicant’s or sponsor’s responsibility to demonstrate that they are negatively affected by the situation.

New sponsorship applications

New sponsorship applications should have “Philippines” 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 Case Processing Centre (CPC) will carefully consider self-identified requests from sponsors with relatives in the affected areas. 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 in-Canada

Sponsors and in-Canada permanent residence applicants whose applications include persons residing in the Philippines and who have been directly and significantly affected by the situation must identify existing applications, by notifying the CIC Call Centre. They must provide information regarding their application as well as their relatives in the affected areas (including the HPM [Handling Public Money] receipt number).This information will be forwarded to the appropriate CPC or 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.

The in-Canada confirmation of permanent residence appointments for protected persons and live-in caregivers “ready for landing” at the local offices will be facilitated in order to expedite visa issuance to dependants.

Temporary Residents

As to applications for temporary residence from affected applicants, the visa office will prioritize temporary resident applications from nationals of the Philippines who can demonstrate that they are negatively affected. It remains the responsibility of the applicant to demonstrate that they are negatively affected.

In-Canada – Temporary residents (extensions for visitors, work permits and study permits)

No priority processing is required as applicants have implied status until a decision is made and they are notified [R183(5)]. Where a client has identified a hardship due to the situation in the Philippines, the CPC in Vegreville will take this as an additional factor to be considered within existing guidelines. No special measures have been created due to the events in question.

Enquiries to the Call Centre

In situations where general advice is sought, for example where Canadian citizens or permanent residents are inquiring about how to advance the priority of a relative’s temporary resident visa application that is already in process, they should be advised to instruct their relative overseas to demonstrate to the visa office that they are negatively affected, if they have not already done so.

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