Operational Bulletin 249 - November 15, 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.

End of Haiti Special Measures

Issue

This Operational Bulletin (OB) provides instructions for processing applications from Haitian nationals. It replaces OBs 179A, 179B and 179C as a result of the Minister’s announcement that the Haiti Special Measures (HSM) have come to an end as of September 1, 2010.

Background

On January 12, 2010, a major earthquake with a magnitude of 7.0 struck Haiti and was followed by subsequent aftershocks. The earthquake and its aftershocks resulted in devastation in Port-au-Prince and surrounding areas. Following the earthquake, Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) implemented special measures to allow for priority processing of certain applications from Haitians who self-identified as being directly and significantly affected by the earthquake. On August 31, 2010, the Minister announced that the HSM will come to an end as of September 1, 2010. At this time, the Canadian Embassy in Port-au-Prince is still not fully operational, and as such, CIC is not yet in a position to resume processing for all categories of applicants, including Federal Skilled Workers.

Priority Processing

CIC will retain its commitment of priority processing for cases received prior to September 1, 2010, that fall under the HSM, specifically that cases will be cleared within 12 weeks from the end of the month that the application was received. A case is considered cleared when the client is in possession of the appropriate document (permanent resident visa (PRV), temporary resident visa (TRV) or temporary resident permit (TRP)), or a negative decision is rendered. The goal is to achieve this 100% of the time, but operational experience tells us that various factors will place us at approximately 80%, such as medical furtherance or client compliance in a timely manner.

Under the HSM, the following cases were identified for priority processing:

  • New and existing sponsorship applications from Canadian citizens and permanent residents who have close relatives (as defined in R117(1)) in Haiti;
  • New and existing applications for permanent residence in the Spouse or Common-law Partner in-Canada Class, and Protected Persons including those family members (as defined in R1(3)) directly affected by this disaster in their application;
  • New and existing applications for citizenship certificates (proof of citizenship);
  • In-Canada applications to extend temporary resident status; and
  • In-Canada applications for a work permit (WP) for those individuals from Haiti who are now unable to support themselves, the Minister has approved a public policy exempting these applicants from the requirement for a Labour Market Opinion (LMO) (use LMO exemption code HSM).

As of September 1, 2010, the HSM have ended and new applications received from Haitian nationals will no longer benefit from HSM priority processing. CIC will still process applications as quickly as possible. However, there will no longer be a commitment to complete processing within 12 weeks of the end of the month that an application is received.

CIC is processing Haitian applications received on or after September 1, 2010, according to the following groupings:

Group 1

  • Applications received under the Québec Special Measure’s (QSM) “parrainage humanitaire” category;
  • New applications under the family class; and
  • Finalizing adoption cases from Operation Stork.

Group 2

  • Dependents of protected persons;
  • Selected categories of temporary resident applicants (scholarship students and visitor applicants when the application is referred to the Immigration Program Manager); and
  • Humanitarian and Compassionate category applicants.

CIC will process sponsorship applications at the Case Processing Centre (CPC)-Mississauga. However, the new timeframe to complete the eligibility assessments for these applications will be 40 days as opposed to 10 days under the HSM.

All standard admissibility and citizenship requirements must still be initiated, including criminality and security checks. Normal immigration medical examination 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. All new Haitian applicants will be required to comply with CIC’s medical requirements.

Processing Applications for Permanent Residence

CIC will process applications received on or after September 1, 2010, as quickly as possible. Cases that continue to be processed under the HSM may still be issued a TRV or a TRP as appropriate before all stages of immigration processing have been completed; however, new applications will only be issued a TRV or TRP in exceptional circumstances. Before a TRV or a TRP is issued for a new Haitian case, OMC should be notified.

For overseas family class sponsorships, CPC-Mississauga will transfer the information to the Ottawa Haiti Processing Office (OHPO) within 40 working days of receipt of IMM 1344. This timeline applies for all family class sponsorships, including spouses, dependent children, parents, and grandparents. CPC-Mississauga will also send the sponsor a letter reminding them that the application kit should be completed as soon as possible.

CIC requires applicants to complete all forms, including providing a signature on the IMM 008 application, and to submit all required documents. As well, all applicants are required to present a prescribed travel document.

Applications submitted to CIC must contain the correct fee payment to be accepted for processing. Applications with incorrect fees, missing signature or without required documents will not be considered complete and will be returned to the applicant.

Adoptions

Parents must apply for either permanent residence or citizenship status for all children evacuated from Haiti. In order to finalize the adoption process for children that were evacuated, the following must be completed:

  • Submit either applications for sponsorship (if not already submitted) and permanent residence or an application for citizenship;
  • Complete the Immigration Medical Exam;
  • Seek an Adoption Order from the respective provincial jurisdiction; and
  • Apply for a Certificat de sélection du Québec (CSQ) for children who reside in Québec (if submitting a sponsorship and permanent residence application) and then submit a CSQ as well as a permanent resident application to CIC.

For new adoption cases, parents should be advised to contact their provincial adoption authorities to determine what steps must be initiated.

Québec Special Measures

The Province of Québec introduced new regulatory measures to facilitate sponsorship of persons who were seriously and personally affected by the earthquake in Haiti. One measure permits family class sponsors who do not meet the financial requirements to enter into a joint sponsorship with any Québec resident of at least 18 years of age (regroupment familial). The “co-signers” are jointly responsible for the sponsorship undertaking for its duration. The other measure allows Québec residents to sponsor applications for a permanent resident visa for siblings and adult dependents and their accompanying family members (parrainage humanitaire).

The Province will review each application and issue a CSQ to the applicant if they meet the provincial QSM requirements. The applicant, in turn, must then submit the CSQ, the application for permanent residence and other appropriate documents, as well as full fee payment, to CIC. CIC will then process these applications as quickly as possible.

Applications submitted to CIC must contain the correct fee payment to be accepted for processing. Applications with incorrect fees will not be considered complete and will be returned to the applicant.

Work Permits (WP)

Under the HSM, Haitian nationals in Canada who were unable to support themselves could apply for a WP and these applicants were exempt from the requirement for a LMO. With the end of the HSM, this process is no longer available to Haitian nationals. As well, individuals who were previously issued a WP under this process may apply to extend the permit; however, they will now require a valid LMO and must pay the applicable fees.

Program Delivery

Overseas Processing:

The Embassy of Canada has been damaged by the earthquake and the services that it is able to offer continue to be limited. The primary role for the Embassy in Port-au-Prince is to conduct interviews, issue medicals, and issue visas upon completion of file processing. The Embassy will also begin processing of some non-immigrant cases, specifically applications for student visas and selected TRVs. The level of processing for these applications will be determined by the overall number of applications and resource levels.

Citizens or residents from countries other than Haiti who are normally served by the office in Port-au-Prince will continue to submit applications to the office in Port of Spain, with the exception of citizens or persons lawfully admitted to the Dominican Republic, who will continue to submit their applications to the office in Santo Domingo. The paper files of Dominican Republic applicants whose cases were already in process in Port-au-Prince have been recovered and have been transferred to Santo Domingo.

To support the visa posts and our consular colleagues, CPC-Sydney has implemented direct access e-mail for verification of Canadian citizenship status and/or permanent resident status. This also includes photo verification from previous records.

In Canada processing:

New applications should have “Haiti” written on the mailing envelope. For existing applications, the sponsor or applicant must notify the CIC Call Centre at 1-888-242-2100.

Clients must provide information regarding their application and their relatives in Haiti (including the Handling of Public Money (HPM) receipt number). This information will be forwarded to the OHPO, appropriate CPC, or local inland office, where they will respond to requests on a case-by-case basis. For any case enquiries, clients are to be referred to the CIC Call Centre.

Ottawa Haiti Processing Office

OHPO is responsible for processing the immigration applications for members of the family class, QSM, adopted children, dependents of protected persons (DR-2s), and applicants under the Humanitarian and Compassionate category.

For all cases issued a TRP/TRV overseas for early admissions, the OHPO will be responsible for the continued processing of their applications for permanent residence. The only exception will be cases where a TRP has been issued so that the individual can be added to an application at CPC-Vegreville. These cases will be processed by CPC-Vegreville. Clients have been advised that they must keep their temporary immigration status valid through CPC-Vegreville throughout this process.

Following finalization of a case, OHPO will advise the Embassy in Port-au-Prince to issue a visa for the applicant, or if the applicant was issued a TRP or a TRV for early admission, the OHPO will finalize the immigration process within Canada. OHPO will instruct inland CIC regarding the additional steps that must be undertaken to issue an immigrant visa within Canada.

For cases where an individual has been issued a TRP and the individual cannot be landed in Canada, OHPO will forward the case details to OMC for a review of the file. OMC will advise OHPO within 20 days as to how to proceed, including whether a new TRP should be issued.

CPC-Vegreville

Temporary residents of Haitian citizenship already in Canada must ensure that they maintain their temporary resident status by applying to extend their status or applying for a new TRP. The fees associated with these applications will not be waived.

As per R183(5), persons who have already submitted an application to extend or change their temporary resident status will benefit from implied status until notified of a decision on their application.

CPC-Mississauga

CPC-Mississauga will process the eligibility assessments of sponsors for all family class sponsorships received on or after September 1, 2010, within 40 working days.

CPC-Sydney

CPC-Sydney will process applications for citizenship certificates (proofs of citizenship) for persons who are of Haitian origin as quickly as possible.

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).

Case specific inquiries: E-mail: Haiti@cic.gc.ca.

Adoptions processed under Operation Stork: E-mail: adoptions-Haiti@cic.gc.ca.

Interim Federal Health Program (IFHP)

As of September 1, 2010, the IFH eligibility no longer applies to new applicants under the HSM, as these special measures have ended. For individuals who, as part of the HSM, were issued an IFH coverage prior to September 1, 2010, and who still have a valid TRP, they will continue to be covered under IFH until the expiration date on their certificate or until they no longer require coverage as they have become eligible for provincial health care coverage or until they have departed Canada, whichever of these comes first. The IFH coverage will also continue for applicants who have applied for permanent resident status, if that coverage was issued prior to September 1, 2010, until they qualify for provincial health care coverage. Finally, individuals who still have an outstanding application for an IFH coverage in process will also be eligible for an IFH if they submitted their application prior to September 1, 2010. As previously noted, applications received prior to September 1, 2010, will still be considered under the HSM, and therefore these individuals can receive an IFH if they are eligible for this program.

Fee Exemptions

All fee exemptions that were implemented on January 22, 2010, for Haitian nationals who were directly and significantly affected by the earthquake in Haiti are rescinded as of September 1, 2010. All new Haitian applicants will be required to pay fees required by the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations.

For applications received under the HSM that were withdrawn and are now subsequently reopened by CIC, there will continue to be a fee exemption. Officers will be able to use their discretion for these cases to waive fees for these applicants. This fee exemption will apply to reopened cases if it has been less than four months since the case was administratively withdrawn.

Special Program Coding

QSM coding will continue to apply to new applications received under the “parrainage humanitaire” category.

The “Humanitarian Sponsorship” (parrainage humanitaire) cases with a destination of Québec will be coded as SW1. All offices will add a prefix to the CSQ number in CAIPS to clearly identify QSM cases; humanitarian sponsorships will be identified by the CSQ prefix “QH”.

The “QSM Family Class Sponsorship” (regroupement familial) cases with a co-sponsor will be coded as family class applications. All offices will add a prefix to the CSQ number in CAIPS to clearly identify QSM cases; family class sponsorships will be identified by the CSQ prefix “QF”.

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