Time For Citizenship & Immigration Canada To Act On Egypt

By James Metcalfe | February 4, 2011

by James Metcalfe – Pace Law Firm: Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) has announced that the visa section of the Canadian Embassy in Cairo is closed. CIC have not set in place a plan to provide any services to the  Egyptian public who are waiting to reunite with their relatives in Canada. This leaves many people in limbo as to what to do or where to go.

This reminds me of the situation in Lebanon many years ago.  For decades, the Canadian Embassy in Beirut provided immigration services to the greater part of the Middle East. Then civil strife in the 1970’s made it impossible to conduct operations from there. When the visa office in Beirut became non-functional, the initial – and effective – response was to move the operations to Limasol in Cyprus.

Beirut at the time was in the pre-computer era.  We now live in an age of high speed internet and direct communications. With what’s happening in Egypt today, I would suggest that it would not be impossible to move visa operations all the way back to Canada.

From our experience, few, if indeed any, of our immigration clients are ever interviewed by embassy staff. This makes the need to stop operations unnecessary. For instance, last April the heightened security situtation in Pakistan meant that the Canadian Embassy could not deliver the immigration program there. The response from the CIC was to move the processing of Skilled Workers and Business Class immigrants from Islamabad to London, England. There’s really no reason something similar could not happen with the current situation in Egypt.

We believe that Citizenship and Immigration Canada must act quickly to return operations to an acceptable level of program delivery. The crisis in Egypt is entering its second week and will likely not come to a quick resolution.  Since Pace Law Firm has a large number of clients in Egypt, we will be writing to Jason Kenney, the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, with our views. We will keep you posted on the outcome.