Newsletter – December 2019

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This edition of the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) Newsletter includes the following:

Government of Canada expands biometrics rules for applicants from within Canada

Canada’s biometrics collection program is expanding to include applicants applying from within Canada. This is the last expansion phase for this program.

As of December 3, 2019, individuals applying from within Canada to renew or extend their visitor visa, study permit or work permit, or those applying for temporary or permanent residence will need to give their biometrics (fingerprints and a photo) as part of their application unless otherwise exempted.

This same rule has applied to most foreign nationals applying for temporary or permanent residence from outside the country since December 31, 2018.

Service Canada will be collecting biometrics on behalf of IRCC and applicants in Canada will be able to give their biometrics at any of the 58 designated Service Canada locations across the country.

Learn more about how to book an appointment to give your biometrics at a designated Service Canada location.

Associated Links

Service and fee changes for visa application centres in Europe, Africa and the Middle East

Need to go to a visa application centre (VAC) in Europe, Africa or the Middle East? IRCC recently announced some changes to services and fees at VACs in those areas. Here’s what you need to know about the changes that came into effect on November 2, 2019:

VACs in these areas collect biometrics (fingerprints and a photo) by appointment only. You can book your appointment by visiting the new websites for all VACs, which are linked from IRCC’s VAC page.

VACs in Europe, Africa and the Middle East also no longer offer the following services as a package: submitting your paper application, transferring your documents to and from the visa office, and collecting your biometrics. VACs in these locations now charge a separate fee to submit your application and send your documents.

Certain VACs are also introducing other services and fees. Details of these changes are now posted on the VAC websites for those locations.

Associated links:

What is IRCC’s Blended Visa Office-Referred Program?

Did you know that IRCC has a program that matches U.N.-referred refugees with private sponsors in Canada and helps share the costs?

The Blended Visa Office-Referred Program matches refugees identified for resettlement by the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) with private sponsors in Canada to make it easier for sponsors to help the most vulnerable refugees.

The Government of Canada provides up to 6 months of income support through the Resettlement Assistance Program, while private sponsors provide another 6 months of financial support and up to a year of social and emotional support.

Sponsors can look through an online list of individuals and their families available for sponsorship to help them decide if they want to submit an application. These refugees have been screened and interviewed, often making them ready to travel to Canada sooner.

Find out more about the Blended Visa Office-Referred Program and process.

IRCC launches pilot project for family reunification

IRCC has launched a new 2-year pilot project that will reunite more families. The pilot project allows some previous immigrants to sponsor undeclared immediate family members to come to Canada.

When a person applies to immigrate to Canada, they are required to declare all of their family members (spouse, common-law partner, dependent children, dependent children of dependent children). Typically, failing to declare a family member means the principal applicant will be prohibited from sponsoring that family member in the future.

The public policy, which took effect on September 9, 2019, now allows permanent residents who came to Canada as a Convention refugee, a protected person or who were themselves sponsored as a spouse, common-law partner, conjugal partner or dependent child, to sponsor family members even if they were not initially declared.

This pilot project reflects the government’s commitment to protecting vulnerable people and reuniting families. Introducing this initiative as a pilot project allows IRCC to monitor and assess the number of cases and types of situations, and to ensure that no significant issues arise.

Associated links:

Did you know…?

IRCC is now offering extended hours at 10 of its offices across Canada. Learn more about how your appointment could be scheduled on a Thursday evening or Saturday.

Need to contact IRCC about your application? Submit a request through our web form! There is no waiting on hold on the telephone and IRCC will respond in 2 to 5 business days.

IRCC opened 9 new visa application centres in October and November 2019. Get the details of where they are located.

IRCC feature video

The IRCC video team produces informative and creative videos on a wide range of subjects of interest to the department, Canadians and our clients. In each issue of our newsletter, we highlight one of their productions.


In this issue, we bring you the video Your first two weeks in Canada. This video helps newcomers get ready for a new life here. It explains some of the things they should do during their first 2 weeks in Canada to help make the transition easier.

Upcoming events and important dates

December 6 is the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence against Women. On this day, we remember the victims and take action against misogyny, sexism and hate.

On December 10, celebrate Human Rights Day and the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

January 24 is International Day of Education. On this day, we promote free and compulsory education as a human right for all.

January 27 is the International Day of Commemoration in Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust. On this day, we remember the victims and honour them by continuing to act against discrimination and defend democratic values within our communities.


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