The government’s pilot project confirms permanent residence over the phone: selected participants do not need to travel to confirm PR status
Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (“IRCC”) announced a pilot project last month to test a new way for select foreigners already in Canada to be confirmed as permanent Canadian residents – by phone.
Currently, foreigners approved as permanent residents of Canada must personally confirm their permanent residence. As part of the regular process, applicants will receive a letter of approval in the mail along with a document known as Confirmation of Permanent Residence (CoPR). To confirm permanent residence status, applicants must either schedule and attend a face-to-face interview at a local IRCC office, or leave Canada and return via a port of entry, depending on the type of application. It can take a few weeks or more to schedule face-to-face interviews and exiting / re-entering a port of entry can be costly and time-consuming. The current process is inflexible and cannot accept people who are having difficulty traveling to a port of entry or office in Canada.
If you already have travel plans in place at the time you receive your CoPR, you can simply take them with you (along with other documents you may need to confirm your status) and confirm your status when you travel to Canada by air, land or land return sea, but many applicants in Canada have no travel plans and prefer to confirm permanent inland residency.
How the pilot will work
The pilot project can address some of these issues by allowing selected permanent residents in Canada to confirm their status through a telephone interview. CoPRs are uploaded to the individual’s IRCC account either by mail or online (for those who applied online under an eligible program). During the phone interview, the same questions will be asked that are usually asked in a face-to-face interview, and the process is expected to take around 15 minutes.
Selected applicants will receive a notification via their IRCC application portal when they have applied via the portal, or they will receive an email from an address with the ending “@ cic.gc.ca”. If you receive a positive decision on your permanent residence application but have not been informed that you have been selected for confirmation by phone, you will either need to schedule an interview or attend a port of entry in person.
The IRCC will select candidates to participate in the pilot project. Currently, customers cannot request a telephone interview, but depending on its effectiveness, the project can be expanded in the future. The results of the project and the experiences of its participants will be taken into account by the government in deciding whether this program should be rolled out to all applicants in the future.
The government has not specified how long they will be running this pilot or how many people will be selected to participate.
Issues that were not resolved by the pilot
One problem that still remains with obtaining permanent residence in Canada is the issue of the Permanent Resident Card. As many new Canadian PRs know, there is a significant lag between the date of confirmation of PR status and the time a permanent resident card is mailed. It can take up to six weeks or more from the day you are confirmed as permanent residence to the day you receive your permanent residence card. This is an important issue as the Permanent Resident Card is an essential travel document for permanent Canadian residents traveling outside of Canada. Without them, they’ll have trouble getting on commercial airlines flying to Canada.
The permanent resident card problem has affected foreigners for many years and is a common complaint. As the IRCC addresses procedural issues that cost Canadian newcomers and permanent residents time and money, we hope that beyond confirming the duration of permanent residence, they seek improved solutions for the second half of the process.
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