Mistakes Plague Immigration Documents

Mistakes plague immigration documents

Nicholas Keung
Toronto Star
Jun 13, 2009 04:30 AM

Wrong spelling and order of names. Mistaken gender. Incorrect location of employment and employer.

These are the most common errors introduced by front-line government employees into immigration documents such as work permits and student visas, according to internal Citizenship and Immigration Canada correspondence.

The problem has become such a growing concern and frustration that bureaucrats are complaining about it in private, prompting some to try to come up with a list of the top errors as a reminder for all.

“Needless to say, this is a very big issue for us,” Randy Gurlock, Citizenship and Immigration's area director in Edmonton, wrote in a series of department emails obtained under the Access to Information Act by immigration lawyer Richard Kurland.

“We see endless clients coming in with documents as a result of port of entry errors. It is not a new phenomenon and it's certainly not getting any better.”

While some senior officials called it “a frustrating waste of time and a terrible duplication of effort” to correct these mistakes, at least one, Citizenship and Immigration Canada regional program adviser Alan Kell, admitted that the poor client service and high demands to correct these errors are unacceptable.

And these errors could trickle down to other government-issued identification documents such as social insurance and health cards, noted Kell in an internal email dated last June.

“Such errors in many instances causes extensive work in area offices up to and including the issuance of replacement documents,” Kell wrote.

“CIC headquarters is fully aware of such concerns.”

Kurland said these bureaucratic errors not only create inconvenience for document holders, they could also jeopardize someone's status in the country.

“If it's an error on a work permit, it means the person can't work. These errors can affect their lives and the lives of their employers,” he said in a telephone interview from Vancouver.

Different regional immigration offices, especially in the Prairies and West Coast, reported an increase in document errors, the majority of them in relation to temporary residents such as those on work permits or student visas, according to the obtained emails.

In the Prairies and northern territories, for example, staff complained that up to half of walk-in requests were due to errors on their papers issued at ports of entry.

The reason for the increasing errors, some officials say, is the “extremely large and rapid increase” of temporary foreign workers recruited to Canada over the last few years. And the department agrees.

Immigration Canada spokeswoman Danielle Norris said there is always a certain percentage of human error involved in processing, but quality assurance processes are in place to ensure consistency and address errors that are made.

Immigration is working on new case management and e-application systems, which will help minimize some of the clerical mistakes, she added.


Comments :


These are the same people who Miller wants to give the municipal vote to. Pandering.

Submitted by builder.m at 4:19 PM Saturday, June 13 2009


Case management system?

These new systems were promised almost a decade ago and were supposed to be in service 5 years ago. Nothing has changed. Nothing will change. The current system is in absolutely terrible disrepair and it must be changed.

Submitted by Rodney M at 10:00 AM Saturday, June 13 2009