May 29, 2012 — Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) is centralizing more of its overseas processing in Canada. This will reduce costs, allow the department to become more efficient, and create jobs in Canada. CIC is stepping up the pace of modernizing the way it works, continuing to streamline programs and operations and working to make processing more efficient.
The ongoing implementation of these changes, especially the introduction of the Global Case Management System (GCMS), means that documents can be processed electronically anywhere in the world. This system allows for the electronic application, payment and processing of files. More and more applicants will be able to apply online and pay electronically. Because of these changes CIC is now well placed to centralize more of its work from abroad to Canada.
Processing in Canada is done through a network of Centralized Processing Centres that creates files, issues medicals and initiates security screening for Permanent Resident applications. The North American network expands on this approach and allows the department to centralize its work, as well as move applications to offices that have the capacity to process them when other offices are busier.
CIC has begun to provide some applicants with tools such as MyCIC that allow applicants to self-serve online and monitor the status of their applications. Enhancements to MyCIC are coming and they will allow applicants to enroll and log in to a secure environment, upload forms and documents, pay fees and allow CIC to communicate with them.
The department has also made it easier for students from certain countries to apply for a study permit. They can apply online, thanks to the Visa Exempt Study Permit Abroad (VESPA) Electronic Application Service. The program, which started in May 2011, allows students from 14 designated countries to submit their application online. The application is processed in Canada, and the applicant receives an electronic decision letter directly through the MyCIC website for presentation upon arrival in Canada. Plans are underway to expand this service to students from other visa exempt countries and to roll out e-applications to other lines of business in the future.
Plans are also in the works for a more streamlined electronic Global Payment system. This system would allow applicants to pay for CIC services online in a secure environment.
Visa application centres closer to applicants
An established and growing global ARCHIVED – visa application centre (VAC) network serves those who want to visit Canada by providing more points of service closer to their homes. VACs are also more convenient because they have longer hours of operation than visa offices in embassies and client service agents are available to explain, in local languages, how to fill out forms and ensure that applications are complete. CIC currently has 60 VACs in 41 countries. CIC envisions expanding this network to up to 150 VACs by 2014. This includes a plan to roll out VACs in the U.S. in 2014.
Clearer information for applicants
CIC has been working on making the application process clearer. The Come to Canada Wizard guides potential applicants through a series of questions and, based on their answers, matches them with the federal immigration option that best suits their specific circumstances. This is one way in which CIC is creating a more responsive, transparent and efficient immigration system that benefits applicants, immigrants and Canadians alike.
The website has also been reorganized and streamlined, and an enhanced search function has been created to help users better find the information they need. CIC has created tutorial videos that help applicants fill out their applications. CIC has also updated processing time information to make it easier to understand and give applicants a sense of how long they can expect their applications to be in process. A new online Help Centre will be launched later this year, which will guide potential applicants to the information they need.
Improved service to applicants
By centralizing more processing in Canada, particularly for files that are more straight-forward and low risk, we can be more efficient, save money, reduce our global network and create jobs in Canada. These changes, as well as more that are in the works, together will allow CIC to move to improved and more streamlined service for applicants.
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