Visitors must submit fingerprints and photos to Ottawa for visas

Starting Oct. 23, travellers from 11 countries must submit their fingerprints and photos when applying for a Canadian visitor, student or work visa.

They include those from Albania, Algeria, Democratic Republic of Congo, Eritrea, Libya, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan and Tunisia.

Citizenship and Immigration Canada has released a country list, following the imposition of the biometrics requirement earlier this month on Colombia, Haiti and Jamaica.

Visitors from these countries must pay an extra $85 for Ottawa to collect their fingerprints and photos in their visa applications — as part of Protecting Canada’s Immigration System Act passed last year to tighten border entry to the country.

Officials said the countries were selected for their volumes or rates of visa refusals, removal orders, refugee claims, and nationals arriving without proper documentation or attempting to travel under false identities, as well as their relevance to Canada’s foreign and trade policy objectives.

About 20 per cent of the 300,000 visa-required applicants — visitors, students or temporary foreign workers — would have to submit their biometric information in the first year. Children, the elderly and diplomats are exempted.

The applicants must present themselves at a biometric collection service point, a third-party visa application centre contracted by Ottawa, to provide “all available fingerprints and have a photograph taken.”

Starting Dec. 11, visitors from 16 other countries also face the biometrics requirements, including Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Burma, Cambodia, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Laos, Lebanon, Pakistan, Palestinian Authority, Sri Lanka, Syria, Vietnam and Yemen.

Meanwhile, Ottawa has filed an appeal with the federal court challenging a ruling by the Public Service Labour Relations Board Friday that found the government had negotiated in bad faith with its striking foreign affairs officers, including many tasked with visa processing.

This article first appeared HERE.

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