Visa application centres’ operational coordination, trend identification, performance management and support

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

This page outlines the roles and responsibilities of visa application centres (VACs) in biometric collections.

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Coordination of local IRCC visa offices with their corresponding VACs

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) visa offices are responsible for establishing their own day-to-day interactions with local VACs.

Offices may establish regular meetings with VAC contractors to discuss operational refinement or to resolve issues.

Offices must receive approval for changes to standard processes and procedures from International Network at IRCC headquarters.

Trend identification at VACs

An IRCC visa office may be the first to identify issues or problems with biometrics collection in a VAC.

Indicators of issues with biometrics collection may include one or both of the following:

  • frequent errors on biometrics collection transactions, noted either through the Global Case Management System or by reviewing and analysing error logs
  • frequent complaints from applicants about VAC staff or processes

When an issue is identified that affects the quality of the collected biometrics information, the IRCC visa office will contact the local VAC contractor, provide training documentation, if needed, to the VAC manager to arrange appropriate staff training, awareness seminars and/or closer oversight to address the issues.

The IRCC visa office will inform the appropriate unit within International Region at IRCC headquarters of its actions and seek guidance or escalation to the VAC contractor, if needed.

If malfeasance is suspected, the IRCC visa office must contact IRCC headquarters according to existing procedures for guidance and instruction.

Performance management of VAC biometrics collection

IRCC headquarters identifies issues with biometrics collection at VACs through direct performance monitoring or audit and evaluation activities.

Normally, IRCC headquarters discusses the issues with the VAC management, as set out in the contract.

IRCC headquarters may request that the responsible IRCC visa office do any or all of the following:

  • conduct unannounced visits to VACs as part of ongoing risk management and quality assurance activities
  • coordinate, monitor and report back on local performance reviews and compliance activities
  • ensure that the remedy agreed to by the VAC management is completed by the VAC
  • monitor VAC communication products in the local language to ensure accuracy of information and instructions
  • provide information about the issue
  • provide input into the discussion

IRCC headquarters informs responsible IRCC visa offices outside Canada when an audit, quality assurance activity or malfeasance investigation is being conducted on a VAC, regardless of whether assistance is requested from the responsible IRCC visa office. If it is determined that the content of the audit, activity or investigation requires increased security protocols, the IRCC visa office will only be notified on a need-to-know basis.

IRCC visa offices are also typically sent the results of any investigations of VACs. An IRCC visa office proposing a VAC quality assurance or audit activity must receive approval from International Network.

Support of biometrics training to VAC staff

VACs are provided with approved biometrics training material and are responsible for ensuring that all staff using the Canadian Immigration Biometric Identification System (CIBIDS) have been properly trained.

IRCC headquarters may request that the local IRCC visa office do any or all of the following:

  • monitor training and coaching sessions of new or existing VAC staff either regularly or on an ad hoc basis
  • provide guidance for training on local biometric issues
  • ensure training occurs by attending VAC training sessions
  • provide location-specific information, if any, for the training manuals used at the VAC

Applicant complaints about biometrics collection service at VACs

Applicant complaints should be forwarded to the VAC management to be addressed directly by the VAC.

The VAC must copy the responsible IRCC visa office on any response.

For complaints regarding RCMP check results (such as, alleged false positives and cases of mistaken identity), follow the steps outlined in the Mistaken identity and false search results instructions.

All complaints received about a VAC should be reported to International Network at IRCC headquarters, copying the Immigration Program Guidance Branch (IPG) and Biometrics Operational Support Unit (BOSU) mailboxes.

The local IRCC visa office and the BOSU maintain a record of applicant complaints.

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