This section contains policy, procedures and guidance used by IRCC staff. It is posted on the department’s website as a courtesy to stakeholders.
The following steps should be followed when conducting interviews:
Step 1 Read the file in advance
- Stay focused on why an interview is required and what is needed to make a decision
- Gather any tools that need to be consulted in order to make a decision.
Step 2 Establish rapport
- Greet the applicant
- Put the client at ease: help them through the logistics e.g.
- do they follow you?
- where do they sit?
- do they have special needs?
Step 3 Explain the purpose and format of the interview
- Confirm each applicant’s / family member’s choice of official language.
- Explain the officer’s role and authority.
- Explain how the interview will be conducted. Note: Should testing of language ability prove to be necessary, applicants should be informed of the reason for any changes in language prior to any testing being carried out.
- If using an interpreter, ensure that the applicant and interpreter understand each other.
- Ensure that the applicant understands the officer and the process.
Step 4 Elicit information
- Try to put the applicant at ease: most people will be more forthcoming if they feel relaxed
- Keep vocabulary simple and sentence structure uncluttered
- Avoid jargon, rephrase questions if it appears that the applicant has not understood a question
- Maintain the dignity of the applicant
- What to ask:
- ask only what cannot be determined from the file
- use the application form as a guide
- be alert for inconsistencies, gaps and evasiveness. Personal questions are acceptable as long as the officer is respectful.
Step 5 Verify the client's information
- Probe by asking closed questions about details that the client should be able to provide
- Use closed questions in a cross-examination style
- Observe the client's demeanor as they answer
- Remain neutral and objective
- Maintain rapport during this phase of the interview.
Step 6 Give the applicant the opportunity to refute/explain
- Remember the principles of procedural fairness
- Give the applicant reasonable opportunity to:
- respond to the decision
- clarify facts
- provide new information or
- question the officer's interpretation of the facts
- Don't be reluctant to change a decision if the applicant presents new, relevant information
- Explain any conditions of acceptance
- Explain the reasons for a refusal
- Explain the requirements and why the applicant does not meet them.
Step 7 Explain what happens next
- If something is required of the applicant, write this down for them
- Ask only for additional information/documentation if it is necessary in order to make a decision
- Inform the client what will be done next
- As applicable, inform the applicant that they will also receive a written explanation
- Inform the applicant if humanitarian and compassionate consideration, rehabilitation, etc., will be sought
- Make clear who has the authority to make the decision.
Step 8 Answer any questions
- Give the client an opportunity to clarify what was said and make sure they understand
- Give counseling: refer the applicant to authoritative sources
- Avoid giving information you are not certain of.
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