March 27, 2019 – Canada will begin new measures to enforce border security. A new Entry/Exit Program with the United States will soon begin featuring collecting and sharing data of travellers entering and leaving the country.
The data will be shared with the U.S. as part of the Perimeter Security and Economic Competitiveness Action Plan, following the passing into law of Bill C 21 in December 2018.
Data collection regulations are expected to come into force in June 2019 for overland travellers and June 2020 for travellers by air.
Canada and the U.S. are also conducting talks about altering the Safe Third Country Agreement, which many believe helps motivate asylum seekers to cross at unrecognized border points.
The current bilateral agreement means that an asylum seeker has to claim refugee status in the first ‘safe’ country at which they arrive.
Canada Border Security Minister Bill Blair confirmed: “There has been some discussion about how we might apply the agreement to those who present themselves at a place other than the border where there’s clear evidence that they’ve come from the United States, that they were in a place that was, in fact, a safe third country, or if they’ve made application in the United States and they have legal travel documents in the United States.”
Nearly 42,000 asylum seekers entered Canada from the U.S. between official ports of entry since 2017, with 96% of those crossing through rural Quebec through Roxham Road.
Figures show 19,419 asylum seekers were intercepted in 2018, compared to 20,593 in 2017. However, current figures for 2019 appear to show a decline in this trend.
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On the new Entry/Exit Program Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada will have access to the data collected by the Canada Border Services Agency to support the administration of the:
- Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.
- Citizenship Act.
- Canadian Passport Order.
IRCC will have direct access to the information to:
- Verify residency requirements related to citizenship and permanent residence.
- Check if a temporary residence applicant has previously overstayed in Canada.
- Help investigate if a candidate is entitled to a Canadian travel document.
Further ways the IRCC can use the entry/exit data are to:
- Verify sponsors live in Canada where required by law.
- Verify relationships and conditions for spouses and partners under the family class.
- Verify if a refugee claimant entered Canada using their travel documents.
- Support fraud investigations related to immigration, citizenship, passport and travel document programs.
- Verify residency requirements to check if a medical exam is required.
Entry/exit information will be used to process the following applications:
1) Temporary residence
In relation to:
- Temporary resident visas.
- Temporary resident permits.
- Visitor records.
- Work permits and work permit extensions.
- Study permits and study permit extensions.
- Electronic Travel Authorizations (eTAs).
2) Permanent residence
In relation to:
- PR cards.
- Permanent resident travel documents.
- Overseas refugee applications.
- Family class sponsorship.
Entry and exit data will be used to show periods of time spent in and outside Canada for candidates applying for permanent residence.
For sponsorship applications, entry and exit data can be used to determine if a sponsor is residing in Canada.
Applications for in-Canada asylum can also use entry and exit data to verify a claimant’s information.
In relation to:
- Canadian citizenship applications
Exit and entry data will be used to:
- Verify physical presence requirements.
- Assist with verification of other requirements, such as:
- Flagging potential loss of permanent resident status.
- The need for applicants to submit foreign police certificates.
- Assist citizenship revocation investigations, such as:
- To confirm if a candidate misrepresented residence in Canada to acquire citizenship.
In relation to:
- Passport investigations
Entry and exit data will be used to check an individual’s entitlement to Canadian passport services. The data can be used to verify travel history and check if grounds exist for revocation due to:
- Passport misuse.
- Passport fraud.
- Identity fraud.
Interested employers: Kindly contact us here to receive further information.
Interested candidates: Find out whether you qualify to Canada by completing our free on-line evaluation. We will provide you with our evaluation within 1-2 business days.
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