Hon. Ahmed Hussen (Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, Lib.)
Mr. Speaker, insofar as Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, IRCC, is concerned, with regard to (a), the requirement to provide biometrics when applying to come to Canada depends on the document a client is applying for and is aligned with Canada’s entry document requirements. Generally, biometrics are required when applying for a visitor visa; a work or study permit, except for U.S. nationals; permanent residence; and refugee or asylum status. However, there are some exemptions. Travelers from countries that are visa-exempt are not required to provide biometrics before entering Canada.
As per section 190 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations, residents of Greenland as well as St. Pierre and Miquelon who are coming to Canada as visitors are visa-exempt and therefore not subject to biometrics requirements. Those coming to Canada to study or work in Canada are required to provide biometrics in support of their applications.
For more information about Canada’s entry requirements by country/territory and requirements for providing biometrics, members may visit https://www.canada.ca/en/ immigration-refugees-citizenship/ services/ visit-canada/ entry-requirements-country.html.
With regard to (b), if the collection of biometric information is impossible or not feasible, an exemption from the biometrics requirements could be warranted. These exceptional circumstances are determined on a case-by-case basis. Some examples of the criteria that may be used to assess whether it is impossible or not feasible to collect biometric information and an exemption could therefore be justified include a situation in which the client has a temporary or permanent medical condition that prevents the operator or system from capturing the biometric information; the collection equipment or system is not operational, and it is not known how long the system will be down; or the case is exceptionally vulnerable and requires accelerated processing, but biometric information cannot be collected in a timely manner.
With regard to (c), at this time there are no plans to extend the collection of biometrics at the border to any other countries or territories.
With regard to (d)(i), in general, most people are required to make their application and comply with requirements--such as providing biometric data in support of their application--from outside Canada. This is to ensure that applicants are assessed appropriately before they arrive to Canada. On the other hand, to ensure that a balanced strategy is taken when managing the flow of people into Canada, efforts are taken to facilitate the travel of known and low-risk applicants. Residents of Greenland, and St. Pierre and Miquelon are among the very few who may apply for a study or work permit at the port of entry. It should be noted that on average, approximately six work permits and 19 study permits are processed at the port of entry each year from these two territories. The low numbers are operationally manageable for processing at the port of entry.
With regard to (d)(ii), territories in the French West Indies that are part of France—that is, the French Republic--are visa-exempt, and as such, people there do in fact benefit from the biometric exemption when they are seeking to come to Canada as visitors. As well, if they meet the requirements set out in the regulations, they are also eligible to apply for a work permit at the port of entry. However, they are not eligible to apply for a study permit at the port of entry.
With regard to (e), these findings will be included in the program’s evaluation report, entitled “Evaluation of Biometrics (Steady State) and Canada-United States Immigration Information Sharing (IIS)”, which the government anticipates will be published by September 2019.
Topic: Routine Proceedings
Subtopic: Questions on the Order Paper