2014-10-14 – “ Immigration Support ”
By Author: Admin | October 16, 2014
CIC has a large website with many forms for almost all types of application, as well as a guide for the appropriate supporting documents and the appropriate filing fee. Once your application is filed however, CIC makes it purposefully difficult for professionals to get information. Ordinary people don’t know how to contact CIC beyond calling the call centre (at 1 888 242-2100). Clients who reside outside of Canada cannot even access the call centre. Similarly, if a foreign national outside of Canada is seeking information about an application such as officer file notes, said foreign national can’t make an access to information request from outside of Canada.
Clients who are inside of Canada (e.g. work permit holders or Canadian sponsors of foreign spouses) can’t normally contact the call centre if they work normal business hours, given the 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. operation of the call centre.
Applicants or clients may have a “MY CIC” account, but the information contained therein is one-way : CIC emails you an instruction to check your MY CIC account. The instruction most often tells you to produce a document and/or a form within 30 days; you can’t leave a message with a query such as a time frame for completion of a case through MY CIC.
Lawyers have a special email to query the status of an in-Canada application, such as a visa renewal or in-Canada marriage case. I recently inquired about the status of a PR card application renewal – the terse email reply (i.e. the file was moved from Sydney Nova Scotia to the Ottawa office and no time frame given for file completion), plus the delay in obtaining a response (i.e. about 7 weeks) was disappointing for the client.
Our office sometimes dials the call centre (thank goodness for speakerphones which allow multitasking while being on hold for 15-60 minutes). When we do call said call centre, we have to go through account verification that is a pain especially since I’ve had agents just say “you’re not authorized to discuss this application”, but then later, I’ll speak to another agent and they say “oh yes, you are authorized.”Some licensed representatives circumvent this by pretending to be the applicant seeking the visa.
This issue of immigration officers in occultation even affects Members of Parliament whose work in urban ridings typically consists of finding out the status of a constituent’s application, given the closing of many CIC offices in Canada.
The response of CIC is natural; if you cut staff and close offices access must be restricted. Accountability, (not to mention delay) is often a casualty of such a course of action..
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