New Biometric Screening Requirements Take Effect in Canada

New Biometric Screening Requirements Take Effect in CanadaToday, July 31, 2018, marks the official start of Canada’s expanded biometric border screening program that mandates all European, African and Middle Eastern nationals applying for a visitor visa, a work study permit, or for permanent residence must provide fingerprint biometrics and a photo.

The biometrics collected are valid for a period of ten years for temporary residents.

“By expanding our biometrics program, we facilitate entry into Canada and protect the integrity of our immigration system by quickly and accurately establishing a traveller’s identity,” said Ahmed Hussen, Canadian Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship.

In order to facilitate the expanded biometric border control program, the Government of Canada says it is “increasing its Visa Application Centre (VAC) presence in the next 2 years.” In a statement announcing the launch of the expanded activities, the Government of Canada said that by November 2019, its international network of Visa Application Centres will be at least 157 strong, spanning 105 countries.

Implementation of the biometric screening expansion is being framed by the Canadian government as a matter of both security and convenience.

“This will help streamline the entry of genuine travellers, identify those who pose a security risk and stop known criminals from entering Canada,” said  Ralph Goodale, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness. Meanwhile, Bill Blair, the country’s Minister of Border Security and Organized Crime Reduction, emphasized the initiative’s ability to “further strengthen our borders and serve as an impediment to those seeking to come to Canada under false pretences.”

According to previous reports, the biometric screening program will expand even further to include the APAC region and the Americas by December 31.

July 31, 2018 – by Peter B. Counter