Return of Fees for Certain Federal Skilled Worker Applications: Actions Required of Visa Offices
This Operational Bulletin has expired.
The Jobs, Growth and Long-term Prosperity Act became law on June 29, 2012. Under this legislation, Federal Skilled Worker (FSW) applications that were made before February 27, 2008 were terminated by operation of law if a decision based on FSW program selection criteria had not been made by an immigration officer before March 29, 2012.
This Operational Bulletin (OB) provides additional clarification to OB 442, specifically instructions to visa offices regarding the process for the return of fees paid to Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) with respect to FSW applications that have been terminated by the coming into force of this Act, and facilitative actions required of each office.
As noted in OB 442, the process of returning fees paid to CIC for terminated FSW applications will be centralized at NHQ – Finance, in consultation with visa offices as required. The source for determining the amount of fees to be returned will be Point of Service (POS+) financial data from visa offices. A POS+ data extract from each visa office will subsequently be matched with the data on affected applications extracted from the Computer Assisted Immigration Processing System (CAIPS) and the Global Case Management System (GCMS), and will form the baseline data used by NHQ – Finance for the purpose of returning fees.
A general notice was published on the CIC website on October 12, 2012 advising affected FSW applicants to confirm their contact information. NHQ – Finance will reconcile this information and validate it against POS+ and CAIPS/GCMS data to accurately initiate the return of the proper amount of fees to the principal applicant.
NHQ – Finance will be implementing a phased approach to the return of fees for terminated FSW applications.
First priority will be given to those applicants who respond to the general notice on the CIC website as affected by the terminating provision of the Act, and who submit the Return of Processing Fee, Right of Permanent Residence Fee or Right of Landing Fee formand provide contact information as directed. NHQ – Finance will subsequently follow up with all affected applicants to confirm contact information in advance of issuing fee returns.
In order to facilitate the compilation of data required by NHQ – Finance to initiate the return of fees, visa offices are to take the actions outlined below.
Proactive client communication with visa offices
For all inquiries regarding terminated FSW applications that are received by the visa office, the visa office should direct the applicant to the general notice on the CIC website advising them to submit the Return of Processing Fee, Right of Permanent Residence Fee or Right of Landing Fee form to CIC. No action is to be taken by the visa office in initiating a fee return.
In cases where the applicant submitted an updated address directly to the visa office before October 12, 2012, this change should be made in CAIPS and the information should be forwarded to NHQ – Finance at: FSWFeeReturn@cic.gc.ca.
Applications requiring manual review
A subset of all the FSW applications affected by the Jobs, Growth and Long-term Prosperity Act have been identified as requiring a manual review by visa offices to confirm they were in fact terminated by operation of law on June 29, 2012.
These FSW applications represent those for which a selection decision may have been established in case notes before March 29, 2012, but for which the decision code was not entered in CAIPS/GCMS.
This manual review will ensure that NHQ – Finance does not return fees in error for those applications where it is determined a selection decision was in fact made, but where CAIPS/GCMS data did not accurately reflect the decision code.
NHQ – Finance will provide visa offices with a spreadsheet listing FSW applications requiring a manual review of case notes. Visa offices should take the following steps in reviewing these applications, tracking the results, and returning the spreadsheet to NHQ – Finance:
- The visa office will conduct a detailed review of the case notes in CAIPS/GCMS for each application listed in the spreadsheet provided by NHQ – Finance, and determine if a selection decision was in fact made before March 29, 2012 in accordance with the guidance provided in OB 442.
- If it is determined that the application was in fact terminated by operation of law, the visa office will record the results of their manual case review as indicated in the spreadsheet provided by NHQ – Finance.
- If it is determined that a selection decision had been made before March 29, 2012, and the application was not terminated by operation of law, that decision code should be entered by the visa office in CAIPS/GCMS and the results of the review should be noted in the case notes. The visa office will record the results of their manual case review as indicated in the spreadsheet provided by NHQ – Finance.
- The visa office will forward the completed spreadsheet to NHQ – Finance by no later than November 30, 2012 at: FSWFeeReturn@cic.gc.ca.
Note: No further action is to be taken by visa offices with respect to terminated applications at this time.
Missing or incomplete POS+ data and mailing addresses
In September 2012, NHQ – Finance requested assistance from a number of visa offices in obtaining archived POS+ data, as this information is critical to accurately establishing fee return amounts for terminated applications. The POS+ data received from all affected visa offices is currently being merged by CIC Headquarters with data extracted from CAIPS/GCMS, and will constitute the baseline data used by NHQ – Finance to issue fee returns.
In addition, NHQ – Finance has been reformatting mailing addresses extracted from CAIPS/GCMS to the international mailing standard for the purpose of issuing correspondence and fee returns to affected applicants, and to the Integrated Financial Management System (IFMS) standard for the purpose of loading data into the financial system.
In some cases, payment information or mailing addresses will be missing or incomplete. NHQ – Finance will identify such cases following completion of the POS+ and CAIPS/GCMS data merge, and will follow up with individual visa offices with further instructions as required.