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Immigration screening helps to ensure that individuals who pose a threat to security and/or are inadmissible under the IRPA do not gain entry or obtain status in Canada. This program provides security advice to:
identify whether or not citizenship applicants will engage in activities that constitute a threat to the security of Canada;
identify individuals who are inadmissible on security grounds under Section 34(1) of the IRPA;
identify visitor and refugee claimants at Canadian ports of entry who are inadmissible for security reasons; and
screen those requesting visitor visas from countries that pose a terrorist, espionage and transnational criminal activity threat.
In 2007–08, the branch received 94,400 requests under various immigration screening programs (see Table 5). The number of requests received within and from outside Canada was similar to the previous year, while the number of refugee determination requests decreased. The number of front-end screening requests increased from the previous year.
Table 5: Immigration security screening
2005-06 2006-07 2007–08 2005-06 2006-07 2007–08
Within and outside Canada† 63,200 62,800 66,000 133 201 195
Front-end Screening†† 17,100 17,900 21,800 89 143 117
Refugee determination††† 11,700 11,600 6,600 127 153 142
Subtotal 92,000 92,300 94,400 349 497 454
Citizenship applications 308,000 227,300 190,000 120 155 109
Total 400,000 319,600 284,400 469 652 563
* Figures have been rounded to the nearest 100.
† This includes permanent residents from within and outside Canada (excluding the Refugee Determination Program), permanent residents from within the United States and applicants from overseas.
†† Individuals claiming refugee status in Canada or at ports of entry.
††† Refugees, as defined by the IRPA, who apply from within Canada for permanent resident status.
CSIS finds no adverse information in the majority of its screening investigations of refugee claimants or immigration/citizenship candidates. In 2007–08, the Service issued 325 information briefs, 129 inadmissibility briefs and one incidental letter related to immigration cases.
In recent years, the Service's turnaround times for providing information or inadmissibility briefs were generally quite lengthy. In 2007–08, information briefs related to immigration cases took a median of 508 calendar days for an application filed in Canada, 620 days for those filed from the United States and 150 days for those filed abroad. Information briefs related to permanent resident applicants who are refugees in Canada had a median turnaround time of 497 days, and those for files subject to the Front-End Screening Program had a turnaround time of 339 days.
Table 6 provides a three-year highlight of the Service's median turnaround time for
providing notices of assessments.
Table 6: Turnaround time (in days) for notices of assessment
2005–06 2006–07 2007–08
Citizenship 1 1 1
Immigration (Canada)† 70 78 59
Immigration (USA)†† 62 29 45
Overseas immigration 16 14 20
Refugee determination 96 98 64
Front-end screening 23 19 28
† This includes certain classes of individuals who apply for permanent resident status within Canada.
†† This includes persons who have been legally admitted to Canada for at least one year, and who may submit their application to Citizenship and Immigration offices in the United States.
Other screening activities
In 2007–08, the Security Screening Branch also vetted 111,300 visa applications for foreign programs. In addition, the branch was involved in the following two programs:
The Trusted Traveller Program — a pre-clearance program for individuals who travel frequently to the United States. This program is currently under development; and
Passenger Protect — the branch worked with other government departments in developing airline passenger screening programs, in particular the domestic “no-fly” program, which became operational on June 18, 2007.