Canada has expanded its biometrics collection program for 2019 to include applicants for permanent or temporary residence from Asia, Asia Pacific and the America. The requirement’s expansion to individuals from these regions took effect on December 31st.
Therefore, applicants from countries in Asia, Asia Pacific and the Americas —apart from Europe, Middle East and Africa — will now need to give their fingerprints and a digital photograph (biometrics) as part of the application process for their chosen immigration program or application to work or study in Canada, as the case may be.
The biometrics collection program has applied to candidates from countries in Europe, the Middle East and Africa since July 31, 2018.
Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) states that having biometrics helps immigration and border services officials to stop individuals who pose a risk to the safety and security of Canadians. In addition to, it helps officials verify travelers’ identities, makes processing applications easier and simplifies entry for legitimate travelers.
The expanded biometrics program will affect those entering Canada to work, study, or immigrate permanently as every applicant applying for a visitor visa, a work permit or study permit (except US citizens), permanent residence or refugee or asylum status will have to provide biometrics.
Applicants for a visa, study or work permit or permanent residence currently staying in Canada are exempt from providing biometrics until the in-Canada service, which is scheduled to be established in 2019, is up and running.
To meet with the increased demand in Europe, Africa, and the Middle East, the government of Canada has opened additional Visa Application Centres (VACs) in 2018. There are currently 152 VACs in 103 countries and additional VACs are scheduled to be opened in 2019.
There will be a fee of $85 CAD for individual applicants while families applying together at the same time have to pay a maximum total fee of $170 CAD.
Canada’s Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, Ahmed Hussen, asserted that “Collecting biometrics from most foreign travelers coming to Canada makes sense on so many levels as it strengthens the integrity of our immigration system, while helping protect the safety and security of Canadians”. He added, “Not only does biometrics collection give us a reliable, accurate tool to establish a traveler’s identity, but it also improves our ability to process applications and the entry of people upon arrival in Canada”.