Customs & Immigration

Finland limiting Russian entries

Except for work, study or family visits, Russians with Schengen tourist visas which permit passport-free movement between 26 EU states, Finland today began limiting the influx of Russians fleeting their government’s military troop mobilization. “The decision aims to completely prevent the current situation of Russian tourism . . . and the related transit through Finland,” Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto said September 29. [node:read-more:link]

Canadian governments breaking international law?

Provincial jails in many jurisdictions are being used to hold migrants even though they are not accused of a crime. The detention is covered by agreements with the Canada Border Services Agency but the executive director of Amnesty International Canada’s francophone branch, says international law prohibits incarceration for administration reasons related to immigration. British Columbia and Nova Scotia are terminating their contracts with the CBSA but Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, Alberta and Saskatchewan are holding fast for now. [node:read-more:link]

Federal bonuses challenged by MP

The fact that federal public servants received a total of $190 million in total bonuses in 2021-2022, up 11 per cent from the previous fiscal year, is being criticized by Alberta Conservative MP Kelly McCauley. “We should not be rewarding departments that have people waiting outside 12 hours in the snow for a passport,” he says. “We shouldn’t be rewarding anyone at immigration when there’s record backlogs for reuniting families.” [node:read-more:link]

Canadian coronavirus controls expiring

Most of Canada's pandemic border restrictions are set to expire at the end of this month after Prime Minister Justin signed off on the decision September 22. It affects mandatory vaccinations, testing and quarantine of international travellers. In addition, the controversial ArriveCan app is being shelves except as an optional tool for customs and immigration. [node:read-more:link]

Private jets used to smuggle migrants

A multinational police operation has resulted in the arrest of five persons who used private jets to smuggle migrants into Europe. The suspects and two others still at large are accused of giving the migrants fake diplomatic papers from Saint Kitts and Nevis in the Caribbean but flew them from Turkey to a European airport where declared their true identity and claimed asylum. Two jets worth €426,000 have been seized. [node:read-more:link]

Afghan evacuee’s grim prospects

Before life as he knew it turned upside down with the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan, Mohammad Fahim Rahmani worked with the Canadian embassy in Kabul. Evacuated to Canada with his family nearly a year ago, he has been receiving federal support which is now about to run out. The Toronto resident is being advised to pack up and move to a shelter even as his parents’ permanent residence paperwork languishes in a long processing queue. [node:read-more:link]

Border issues a persistent challenge

A federal task force created to improve service at airports as well as passport and immigration offices said today that increased staffing is yielding improvements. However, Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations Marc Miller, a task force co-chair, admitted that “we’re not out of the woods yet.” [node:read-more:link]

ArriveCAN facing U.S. push

The federal government is being bombarded by U.S. politicians and business lobbies to scrap the contentious ArriveCAN app in an attempt to address cross-border travel delays. Nearly 1,500 emails have been sent to Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino and other MPs since the Canadian American Business Council launched a “Travel Like it's 2019” campaign two weeks ago. [node:read-more:link]

ArriveCAN here to stay?

The utility of the ArriveCAn app rolled out by the federal government early in its campaign against the coronavirus pandemic is open to question as other countries have been using it for non-health immigration reasons. Canadian officials haven’t said they would like to follow suit, but Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino has acknowledged that “it has technological capacity beyond that to really shrink the amount of time that is required when you're getting screened at the border.” [node:read-more:link]

More Canadians speak “unofficial” languages

Some13 per cent of Canadians predominantly speak a language other than English or French, according to 2021 data released today by Statistics Canada. It also reports that at least 25 per cent of Canadians reported having at least one “unofficial” first language, predominantly South Asian languages such as Hindi or Punjabi. [node:read-more:link]

Racism at Canada’s borders

A survey conducted as part of an internal Canada Border Services Agency evaluation indicates that racism has been an issue for visitors arriving by air. A quarter of frontline officers reported witnessing colleagues’ discrimination based wholly or partly on the travellers’ race, nationality or ethnicity. [node:read-more:link]

ArriveCAN app rule relaxed

Canada is giving fully-vaccinated travellers entering through the land border a one-time exemption from fines or quarantine requirements if they unknowingly fail to submit the required health documents through the ArriveCAN app. Canadians citizens, permanent residents, persons registered under the Indian Act, and foreign nationals are eligible. [node:read-more:link]

CAF Afghan supporters in jeopardy

Cory Moore, a former Canadian military officer who helped to develop the Afghan National Army’s legal branch, says a group of lawyers and others who supported his work have been “left in the dark” by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada. He is pressing the department to to accelerate its processing of the claims by 12 individuals and their families who fear Taliban reprisals. [node:read-more:link]

Immigration backlog compounds healthcare issues

As healthcare facilities across Canada wrestle with staff shortages and uncounted Canadians lacking access to physicians, an immigration backlog described by lawyers as the worst they have ever seen has sidelined qualified health professionals. The backlog is such that processing new permanent residency applications for immigrants averages 2.6 months and in some cases can be much longer. [node:read-more:link]

Provinces want more immigration control

Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta are pressing the federal government to enable them to be more selective about immigrants. In a letter to Immigration, Refugees & Citizenship Minister, the provinces say they want more immigrants “with the skills they need most . . . to respond to the rapidly evolving needs of specific areas and communities, with a flexible system that we can adapt to changing economic and humanitarian needs.” [node:read-more:link]


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