February 01, 2012
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DUE TO CONTINUING VIOLENCE IN SYRIA, GOVERNMENT CLOSES VISA OFFICE

Services redistributed to Lebanon and Jordan

Ottawa, January 31, 2012 - Due to the continuing violence in Syria, the Visa and Immigration Section at the Canadian Embassy in Damascus is closed and services have been transferred to neighbouring visa offices, Jason Kenney, Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism announced today.

"Following this redistribution, the visa offices in Lebanon (Beirut) and Jordan (Amman) will become full service offices," said Minister Kenney. "Now applicants in those countries will have access to full immigration services in their home country."

The visa office in Jordan (Amman) will also be responsible for all applications from Iraq, while the visa office in Turkey (Ankara) will take care of immigration applications from Iran.

Once the Damascus office is able to reopen it will be responsible for all applications from Syria. Until that time, anyone in Syria who wants to submit a temporary resident application should apply through the visa office in Lebanon (Beirut) or Jordan (Amman). Syrian nationals outside of Syria can submit their application to any other Canadian visa office.

Permanent resident applications from Syrian nationals have been transferred to Jordan (Amman) where processing will resume.

The visa office in Damascus currently has approximately 300 active refugee files from persons residing in Syria that are at the final stages and are visa ready.  These files have been transferred to Jordan (Amman) for final processing and visa issuance.  The remaining refugee resettlement cases for persons residing in Syria have been transferred to a secure location and processing will resume once the visa office in Damascus is able to re-open. The refugee resettlement cases for persons residing outside of Syria follows the same regional redistribution where processing will resume.

The closure of the visa office follows an announcement made by the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (DFAIT) on the Government of Canada's reduced diplomatic staff in Syria.

"The situation in Syria is too volatile and we need to find a more permanent solution for processing applications in the area," added Minister Kenney. "This redistribution means that we are able to bring more services closer to applicants."

Reference : Citizenship and Immigration Canada

PROVINCIAL NOMINEE PROGRAM WORKING WELL, NEW EVALUATION SHOWS

There has been a newly released study by Citizenship and Immigration Canada on January 26, 2012, to try to determine if the federal-provincial program that began in 1998 was meeting its objectives.

Program relevance was assessed in terms of a) continued need; b) alignment with government objectives and priorities; and, c) consistency with respect to federal roles and responsibilities. Program performance was assessed by examining results in terms of a) effectiveness and b) efficiency and economy.

CIC's study confirmed that the PNP is effective in helping to spread the benefits of immigration across the country. Today, 26 percent of all economic immigrants are destined for provinces other than Ontario, British Columbia and Quebec, compared to 11 percent in 1997. However, retention rates of PNs in their province or territory of nomination vary widely, from 23 percent to 95 percent.

The evaluation also pointed to certain areas of the PNP in need of improvement, such as some aspects of program design, delivery and accountability. To ensure better economic outcomes, the report recommends that there be minimum language standards for all PNs and stronger links between PN occupations and specific local labour market needs. It also calls for greater clarity in the roles and responsibilities of the provinces and territories and CIC visa offices abroad in areas such as fraud detection.

To read the complete News bulletin:
http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/department/media/releases/2012/2012-01-26.asp

For more information on the PNP evaluation click here.

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