ARCHIVED – Operational Bulletin 179B – April 1, 2010

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

Special measures for Haiti: Permanent resident non-adoption cases

This Operational Bulletin has expired.

Issue

This operational bulletin provides instructions for processing permanent resident applications (excluding adoption cases) for Haitian nationals and their close family members.

Background

The earthquake that struck Haiti on January 12, 2010 and its aftershocks have resulted in devastation within Port-au-Prince and surrounding areas. The Embassy of Canada was damaged and services are still limited. Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) is currently working with its partners to resume visa and immigration services as soon as possible. In the interim, a new office, the Ottawa Haiti Processing Office (OHPO) has been established.

On January 16, 2010, the Minister of CIC announced special priority processing measures for persons who self-identified as being directly and significantly affected by the January 12th earthquake in Haiti (see OB 179A). This OB provides additional guidance concerning the processing of permanent resident applications. The processing of permanent resident adoption cases is addressed in OB 179C.

Priority processing will be conducted on a case-by-case basis. CIC will process both new and existing cases with equal priority, as all of these cases are identified as being under the Haiti Special Measures (HSM). Three types of priority workloads have been defined:

  • Cases with applications [note 1] received pre-earthquake will be cleared by June 30th, 2010.

    These are cases [note 2] that meet federal priority categories that were in the Port-au-Prince office inventory on January 12, 2010. CIC is actively reviewing these files, and within four weeks of starting a file review, CIC will determine whether an interview is required. If an interview is waived, CIC will aim to provide the client with the appropriate document: temporary resident visa (TRV); temporary resident permit (TRP); permanent resident visa (PRV); or a negative decision, within four weeks, 80% of the time. If an interview is required, it will be scheduled and held within 8 weeks of the notification that an interview is required. At the end of that timeframe, the client will be in possession of the appropriate document (TRV/TRP/PRV) or a negative decision will be rendered. CIC will aim to achieve this 80% of the time.
  • Cases received post-earthquake will be cleared within 12 weeks.

    These are cases that meet federal priority categories that were received after the earthquake on January 12, 2010. Once the application for permanent residence is received, all new cases will be processed with the existing caseload prior to the earthquake. CIC is actively reviewing these files, and within four weeks of starting a file review, CIC will advise clients of next steps or possible refusal. If an interview is waived, CIC will aim to provide the client with the appropriate document (TRV/TRP/PRV) or a negative decision, within four weeks, 80% of the time. If an interview is required, it will be scheduled and held within 8 weeks of the notification that an interview is required. At the end of that timeframe, the client will be in possession of the appropriate document (TRV/TRP/PRV), or a negative decision will be rendered. CIC will aim to achieve this 80% of the time.
  • All other cases not covered under HSM, resumption date to be determined.

    CIC will start to process cases that are not covered by HSM at a later date. Highest priority will continue to be given to HSM cases, although should a permanent resident application not covered by the HSM be ready for visa issuance, CIC will issue documents to ensure clearances do not expire.

All standard admissibility requirements must still be initiated, and where indicators for criminality and security admissibility requirements would ordinarily result in a referral, the referral should be made to the CBSA e-mail address. A response will be returned within 12-24 hours with either a clearance or a hold. It is expected that the majority of cases will be cleared within this timeline.

Normal Immigration medical examination (IME) procedures in Haiti resumed on March 8, 2010.

Ottawa Haiti Processing Office (OHPO)

Effective immediately, the OHPO is designated as a processing office for Haitian nationals for the purpose of section 11 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations. The OHPO will process the following applications for permanent residence from Haitian nationals:

  • all early admission cases;
  • family class applications;
  • DR02 applications (dependents of protected persons);
  • successful Appeals to the Immigration Appeal Division; and
  • applications under the Quebec Special Measures.

Mailing Address:
Ottawa Haiti Processing Office (OHPO)
365 Laurier Avenue West
Ottawa, ON
K1A 1L1

Email Address: Haiti-application@cic.gc.ca

Processing Applications for Permanent Residence

Applications processed in Canada

Priority processing is available for applications in the following immigrant categories who self-identify as being directly and significantly affected by the disaster in Haiti:

  • new and existing applications for permanent residence in the Spouse or Common-law Partner in-Canada class (including cases where humanitarian and compassionate consideration has been requested), and
  • protected persons.

These cases will be submitted to CPC-Vegreville (CPC-V) in the normal fashion. The onus is on the applicant to self-identify by notifying the CIC Call Centre at 1-888-242-2100 or by e-mail at questions-Haiti@cic.gc.ca for existing applications. Due to the high volume of calls received by the Call Centre, applicants are encouraged to contact the Call Centre at the aforementioned e-mail address. New applications requiring priority processing must self-identify by writing “Haiti” on the mailing envelope. All other in-Canada applications for permanent residence from Haitian nationals will proceed under CIC’s existing procedures and priorities.

Both new and existing applications for overseas dependants of protected persons will be transferred by CPC-V to OHPO within 10 working days. Protected persons will be encouraged to include a completed IMM 0008 for their dependents. Upon receipt at OHPO, file creation and an initial assessment will be conducted within 10 days. Client will then be advised of next steps. Files should be sent to the OHPO at the aforementioned mailing address. The Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB) has announced priority processing for Haitian refugee claimants. Following a favourable decision, CPC-V will give their application for permanent residence priority processing.

In cases where an applicant has requested humanitarian and compassionate consideration (H&C), any hardship identified due to the earthquake will be an additional factor within existing guidelines, but solely because a person is a Haitian citizen is not enough grounds for favourable consideration under H&C. CPC-V and Inland CIC offices will be responsible for processing H&C applications submitted in Canada prior to January 12, 2010. These applications will also receive priority processing. The total number of H&C applications submitted by Haitian nationals prior to the earthquake is expected to be minimal, and therefore it should not cause any delays in the processing of other H&C applications already in queue.

Overseas Processing

To ensure expedited processing is facilitated, CIC will continue to allow cases that fall under the HSM to be issued TRVs or TRPs as appropriate before all stages of immigration processing have been completed, although if a PRV can be issued, that is the preferred option.

For overseas family class sponsorships, CPC-Mississauga (CPC-M) will transfer the information to OHPO within 10 working days of receipt of the IMM 1344. This information will be transferred to the aforementioned OHPO address. CPC-M will also send a letter to sponsor within 10 working days, advising them that an application kit will be forthcoming. This letter will advise the sponsor that the application kit will be received within 2 weeks, but it will encourage the sponsor to download the application kit from the CIC website. Sponsors will also be encouraged to include an IMM 0008 with the sponsorship package, with as much information completed as possible (signed or unsigned). Upon receipt of this information at OHPO, a file will be created and initial assessment completed within 10 working days.

Overseas processing will also be expedited by contacting sponsors through alternate means (email, SMS), accepting incomplete IMM 0008 (no signature), convocation of sponsors to interview to clarify facts, and in-Canada fee collection for overseas processing for non-family class Quebec Special Measures cases. As well, officers are encouraged to exercise flexibility and judgement in determining whether an interview of the applicant can be waived.

In the first four examples listed below, the expedited processing measures listed above may be used.

1. Early Admission Cases

The OHPO will receive and process all early admission cases that were issued TRP. They will work closely with the visa office at the Canadian Embassy in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, as well as domestic CIC offices to obtain additional information, as required. The OHPO will finalize these cases and send them to domestic CICs for the granting of permanent residence. There may be instances where inland CICs may be required to interview a sponsor or to undertake other activities in support of the assessment of an immigration application, in addition to scheduling appointments for applicants to collect their immigrant visa.

2. Family class (FC) applications

The OHPO will process all new and existing applications from Haitian nationals for permanent residence in the family class. Priority processing is available for family class applicants who self-identify as being directly and significantly affected by the disaster in Haiti, with the highest priority going to spouses, common-law partners, conjugal partners, and dependent children.

The onus is on the Canadian sponsor to identify the need for priority processing of existing applications by notifying the CIC Call Centre at 1-888-242-2100 or by email at questions-Haiti@cic.gc.ca. New sponsorship applications submitted to CPC-M requiring priority processing must self-identify by writing “Haiti” prominently on the mailing envelope.

Finalization of these cases will be done by Port-au-Prince, Haiti.

3. Overseas dependents of Protected Persons in Canada

OHPO will process all new and existing applications for overseas dependents of protected persons in Canada who are citizens of Haiti. Priority processing is available for those who self-identify as being directly and significantly affected by the disaster in Haiti.

The onus is on the protected person in Canada to identify the need for priority processing of existing applications by notifying the CIC Call Centre at 1-888-242-2100 or by email at questions-Haiti@cic.gc.ca. New applications requiring priority processing must self-identify by writing “Haiti” prominently on the mailing envelope.

As per facilitation procedures, these cases will be dealt with either at the visa office in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, visa office in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, or at OHPO if they were granted early admission.

4. Successful Appeals to the Immigration Appeal Division of the IRB

OHPO will also be responsible for processing successful appeal cases. When the Immigration Appeal Division allows an appeal against a decision not to issue a foreign national a permanent resident visa, the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) hearings officer sends the file back to the appropriate visa office for continued processing. As a result of the earthquake, CBSA hearings officers will now send appeal files to OHPO for processing.

Federal economic class applications

The Centralized Intake Office (CIO) will continue to receive new Federal Skilled Worker (FSW) applications from Haitian nationals. The applications shall be held in abeyance by Sydney until future notice. New and existing FSW applicants will be advised in writing that the processing of their applications has been put on hold. Applications will not be referred or sent to the OHPO until normal processing resumes.

For federal economic class applications, other than those in the Federal Skilled Worker category, CIC will accept normal processing deposit fees, and hold the application until normal processing resumes for non-HSM applications.

How to Contact CIC for Haiti-related information

General inquiries or to update contact information:

  • CIC Call Centre at 1-888-242-2100 (in Canada only, 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Eastern time, Monday through Friday)
  • Email at: question-Haiti@cic.gc.ca

Adoptions processed under Operation Stork:

Permanent resident applications that have been submitted:

Efforts to expedite case processing

Normal IME procedures in Haiti resumed on March 8, 2010. Designated medical practitioners in Haiti are available to respond to clients with appropriate documentation, as well as those current immigration clients who are requested to have a chest x-ray for the purposes of extending the medical validity certificate. If there is a medical furtherance, a second decision will be taken by an officer in consultation with a senior officer as to whether to facilitate the case by allowing the applicant forward under early admission procedures for treatment in Canada. For those classes of HSM applicants not requiring a pre-departure IME, Port of Entry (POE) Officers will follow their standard procedures for determining if quarantine services or IMEs are required in Canada.

In cases where an interview is required, the sponsor will be contacted by telephone or via email to confirm whether the applicant wishes to travel to Santo Domingo for an interview (time and date to be provided) or if the applicant will wait in Haiti for the next available slot in Port-au-Prince.

In order to facilitate the identification process due to lack of documentation, CIC will increase the use of DNA testing in order to establish relationship. CIC will encourage sponsors to consider the use of DNA testing as a means of expediting the applications of their family members, especially where documentation is not available.

In finalizing applications for permanent residence in either the family or economic class [R70(2)(a) or R70(2)(b)], some applicants may not be able to present a prescribed travel document as required by R10(1)(c) and R50(1). The Minister has exempted foreign nationals that have been processed for permanent residence in either the family or economic class directly and significantly affected by the situation in Haiti and unable to present a prescribed travel document from their country of nationality from the requirements of R10(1)(c) and R50(1) by way of a temporary public policy. The foreign nationals described above may travel to Canada on a Single Journey Travel Document (SJTD) (IMM 5565) issued with an IM-1 visa counterfoil to facilitate obtaining permanent resident status, for the duration of the public policy. For detailed instructions on the procedures for completing an SJTD, officers should consult RIL 05-028 and OP 16/ENF 32/IP 12.

Expiry of initiative

This initiative will remain in existence until further notice.

____________

1. An application requires both a sponsorship form and an application for permanent residence in Canada (Form IMM 0008) in order to be considered as a complete application for family class cases.  For persons who are dependents of approved refugee claimants in Canada, the Protected Person must submit an application (Form IMM 0008) and the dependent in Haiti must also submit an application (Form IMM 0008) – no sponsorship form is required.

2. This group of cases excludes those from non-Haitian residents whose cases were previously processed by the visa office in Port-au-Prince.  These cases have been transferred to Santo Domingo or Port of Spain.

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