Typically, officers always need to seek client consent for citizenship videoconference hearings. However, this is not the case with offices. For instance, officers do not need to obtain the consent of the applicant prior to scheduling them for a videoconference hearing.
Because officers do not obtain the client’s consent in advance of scheduling the appointment, the authorities have prescribed certain procedures for the officers. The officers would need to:
- Give three weeks’ notice to the applicants for appearing for a hearing
- In addition, officers would need to ask the applicants to provide any supporting documentation to the office at least 48 hours in advance either by fax or print copy
- Send the consent form along with the invitation
- Inform clients that it would not be possible for the clients to see a judge on that specific day and that waiting for an in person hearing could result in a further delay
- Officers would follow this process only in situations where the client appears for the videoconference hearing, but decides differently i.e. the client decides against having a videoconference hearing that day
The authorities have implemented certain instructions concerning re-testing (refer to Appendix F). As a result, offices now have the opportunity to obtain consent when they advise applicants that the applicants have failed their second test. In addition, offices have the ability to mass mail consent forms to clients in their office’s hearings inventory. Thereafter, officers can also ask the applicants to return the forms before they can proceed with scheduling the applicant. In accordance with the prescribed guidelines, offices would need to keep consent forms on file.
- Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) continues to require a signed consent form for avoiding legal risk
- However, officers would need to note that the authorities will not penalise applicants for not giving their consent
- Similarly, officers would need to ensure that they do not schedule previous hearing no-shows for a videoconference hearing
- Situations could arise where the applicant initially consents to the videoconference hearing and then does not appear on the date in question
- In this scenario, officers would have no other alternative but to treat the instance as a no-show
Source: Citizenship and Immigration Canada