Missing ID May Slow Down Haitian Family Class Immigration
Canadian government’s promise to process faster immigration applications from Haiti could be impossible to fulfill. The biggest obstacle is the requirement for a valid passport in order to process an immigration application. The earthquake of two weeks ago left many houses in Haiti in ruins, and it is unlikely to expect that Haitians will be able to produce their passports or any identity documents. Without a proof of name, age, and family relationships it is very hard to process a family sponsorship application. Moreover, the immigration authorities need a passport in which to issue the visa, and a passport with a visa is the only legal means of entering Canada as an immigrant.
Some people offer an easy solution to this problem. Under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act the immigration minister Kenney has the power to modify the requirements for immigration to Canada. It is within his powers to relinquish the requirement for a valid passport. However, according to Minister Kenney this will pose serious problems.
The Minister has already agreed to relinquish the requirement for passport and medical examinations for a hundred Haitian orphans, who are to be adopted in Canada this year. At this moment he is unwilling to do so for all Family Class emigrants for several reasons. The most important one of them is that lack of identity documents will make it difficult or impossible to perform a security and background check on a potential immigrant. For this purpose a name and date of birth are essential. It is the duty of Canadian immigration authorities to make sure that anybody who enters Canada does not present a health or security risk to other Canadians.
Immigration lawyers, say that they can work around the requirement for valid passports. They suggests that the immigration authorities take an oath from Canadian citizens with good civil record testifying about the prospective immigrant’s name and family relationship to the sponsor.
While the government is mulling over this problem, it is strongly advisable for Canadians who have family members in Haiti to apply for sponsorship as soon as possible. They can apply on their own or use representatives to make sure that applications are filled out correctly and all necessary documents are attached.